NORTHBROOK, Ill. (STMW) – A Northbrook man accused of murdering his son in 2009 filed a federal lawsuit Monday against the officers who investigated the case after a judge twice refused to throw out a videotaped confession.
Hyung Seok Koh claims he was falsely arrested and charged with murdering his son April 16, 2009, at the family’s Northbrook home, according to a suit filed in U.S. District Court.
Paul Koh, 22, of the 1900 block of Birch Rd. in Northbrook, was killed, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. The suit claims Koh had large lacerations to his neck area and multiple wounds to his head, throat, face, chest and hands. A large knife with blood, fingerprints and a palm print was found adjacent to the body.
The suit said Northbrook police responded to the Koh home about 3:45 a.m. April 16, 2009, and took Hyung Seok Koh and his wife Eunsook Koh to the police station. Hyung Seok Koh, 56, was interrogated for several hours without a Korean interpreter and eventually charged in his son’s murder.
The suit claims Northbrook police had no reason to arrest Hyung Seok Koh, did not conduct proper interviews and did not allow him to consult family at the police station. He also claims he was not provided legal council until nine hours after being arrested.
Hyung Seok Koh confessed to killing his son, but later withdrew the confession. He twice appealed to have the confession thrown out, but a Cook County Circuit Judge denied the appeal both times and ruled Northbrook police acted properly in the arrest.
In a May, 2010, pre-trial hearing, the defense said Paul Koh was involved in drugs and was robbed shortly before his murder. The defense also claims DNA evidence points away from Hyung Seok Koh as the killer.
Prosecutors said Hyung Seok Koh admitted on videotape to slitting his son’s throat with a kitchen knife. They also say he initially said intruders killed his son, and he awoke to his wife’s screams.
“Later on, [Hyung Seok Koh], after being Mirandized in a videotaped interrogation, admitted that he had lied; that in fact, he had been angry at his son for being out late ast his son’s 11 p.m. curfew,” said Catherine Crowley, assistant state’s attorney for Cook County.
Paul pushed his father, who retrieved a kitchen knife.
“[Hyung Seok Koh] then swung a knife at his son’s neck,” Crowley said. “he further described grabbing his son from behind and cutting the child’s neck with the knife.”
The three-count suit claims false arrest, coercive interrogation and conspiracy and is seeking more than $300,000 compensatory damages and $150,000 punitive damages, plus the cost of the suit from eight Northbrook police officers who investigated the case and one Wheeling police officer who acted as an interpreter.
Koh is being held in the Cook County Jail on $5 million bond, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s office. He is next scheduled to appear at the Skokie Courthouse April 27.
© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2011. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed