By George Houde
Special to the Tribune
5:03 PM CDT, October 23, 2013
Prosecutors and witnesses described two hours of armed violence in a Barrington Hills home nearly five years ago as the trial of a Wilmette man on charges of home invasion and kidnapping got underway in Cook County Circuit Court today.
Kuhn Kim, 28, of the 1600 block of Sheridan Road, is also charged with armed robbery, aggravated battery and other crimes in a 22 count indictment stemming from the Dec. 5, 2008 incident.
The bench trial before Judge Kay Hanlon in Rolling Meadows branch court began following lengthy psychiatric examinations and several incidents in which Kim violated conditions of his $1.5 million bond, including a case of reckless driving and possession of drug paraphernalia. He has been in Cook County jail since his bond was revoked last year.
In an unusual step at the beginning of the trial, Hanlon asked Kim if he was sure he wanted to reject a prosecution offer of 16 years in prison in exchange for a guilty plea, noting that he could be sentenced to up to 45 years in prison if convicted.
“Yes,” Kim answered.
Dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit and wearing glasses, the youthful looking Kim made offhand comments, smiled and sometimes laughed quietly during the proceedings. Defense attorneys said they would make a case for insanity, but deferred making an opening statement until later in the trial.
Assistant State’s Attorney Mike Clarke said Kim was the gunman who entered the home on Brinker Road about 10 a.m. on a Friday -- while the occupant’s husband and son were at work -- and demanded money. He became angry when the woman didn’t have the $2,000 he wanted and struck her several times in the head, causing her to bleed profusely, Clarke said. Then he forced her to change clothes, Clarke said.
“He became angrier and angrier because she bled all over her clothes,” Clarke said. “Then he decided to tie her up and lock her in a closet. When her husband and son came home, he locked them in the closet, too.”
The 60-year-old woman was the first witness and described how Kim struck her, smashed household items and threatened to shoot her if she did not comply. She said Kim was wearing sunglasses and a scarf covering the lower half of his face, but she later saw his uncovered face and was able to identify his photo.
“I looked up and saw a man pointing a gun in my face,” the woman testified. “He told us he had killed his father that morning and wasn’t afraid to kill people.”
But Kim’s father is alive, and attended the trial. The family declined to comment.
The family escaped from the closet and called police after Kim fled in the family’s Jaguar sedan, according to testimony. Kim was traced after a Barrington Hills police officer made a note of a Toyota sedan parked in a nearby church parking lot with a note taped on it asking for permission to park for 24 hours, Clarke said.
The Jaguar was later found in the parking lot and police traced the Toyota to Kim. Officers found items taken from the home in the car, Clarke said.
Kim is a graduate of New Trier High School. Authorities said Kim planned the attack and had a map of the Barrington Hills area.
The trial is scheduled to continue Thursday.
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