SKorean Stepmother on Trial After Fatally Beating 8-year-old

Image: The Daegu District courthouse, via Yonhap.
A stepmother in South Korea is facing up to 20 years in prison after allegedly beating her younger stepdaughter, who later died of her injuries, according to a report in the JoongAng Daily. The woman is also being accused of forcing her older stepdaughter to give a false confession about the incident.
Only identified by her last name Lim, the 35-year-old stepmother allegedly made her 8-year-old stepdaughter stand against a wall and beat her fatally with her fists and kicked her on two instances last year on Aug. 18. The girl reportedly lost consciousness after the second beating and was sent to the hospital, but died two days later due to a ruptured intestine and peritonitis.
Lim then allegedly coerced the older stepdaughter, last named Kim, to testify to the police that it was she who kicked and killed her younger sister. Kim, 12, later told an official at her foster care center that she gave a false confession because she was afraid of Lim.
The trial for Lim, who’s denying the charges, will begin this Friday. The Daegu District Prosecutors’ Office said it will seek a 20-year prison term for Lim.
Police believes the physical abuse of the 8-year-old had been ongoing for about a year, beginning in the summer of 2012 when the sisters moved in with their birth father and stepmother. The teachers and neighbors of the two girls had previously reported to authorities that they suspected the girls were being physically abused, but the parents denied it.
Kim, the deceased’s older sister, is currently living in foster care, and although she is currently attending a nearby elementary school, she is reportedly still traumatized by the trauma from eight months ago.
The JoongAng Daily reports that Kim isn’t getting along with other foster children as she suddenly bursts into tears at times, saying that she wants to die.
“I want to die,” Kim reportedly wrote in her diary, according to the newspaper. “Why was I born? I don’t know why I should live. Despair, death.”
Civic groups and the victim’s family are complaining that the stepmother should be hit with steepercriminal charges, including murder.
“It is hard to prove the intention for murder,” prosecutor Choi Jong-won said. “We cannot say Lim did it intentionally since the victim did not die on the scene, but two days later at the hospital.”
Kim’s biological mother, who visited her daughter last week, said she plans to take her to live with her soon, according to the JoongAng Daily article.