A South Korean teen who attacked a 13-year-old girl with a knife at a violin camp at Indiana University allegedly tried to hire his cellmate at Clay County Jail in Brazil, Indiana, to kill 14 people, including the victim’s parents.
The conspiracy: Dongwook Ko, 19, was charged with conspiracy to commit murder on Friday for allegedly trying to pay his cellmate $20,000, as well as his $2,500 bail, to torture and murder those connected to his 2019 conviction, according to The Herald Times.
- Court records revealed that the suspect thought his 39-year-old cellmate was a gang member who could arrange the assassination of his targets, including the victim’s parents, defense witnesses, two prosecutors and a journalist who covered his case in 2019.
- Ko also allegedly provided a map detailing the locations of the girl’s father’s house and where he worked in Bloomington. The suspect reportedly told his cellmate that he would post bail for the hit, with Ko’s mother allegedly making deposits into the hired man’s jail commissary account at his request.
- The detective in charge of the case wrote in the probable-cause affidavit that Ko delivered specific instructions on his list writing “TOS,” “SOS” or “DOS” next to the victims’ names to indicate whether they should be “terminated on site,” “smashed on site” or “disabled on site,” according to the Herald Times.
- As investigators began looking into Ko, the cellmate reportedly agreed to wear a wire during their conversations. Authorities also allowed the unnamed inmate to use an iPad, which he used to contact an undercover detective pretending to be his uncle, who was to help execute the plan.
- Ko ordered the “uncle” to kill the names on the list in order, beginning with the victim’s father, who he wanted to suffer a “fast and painful” death, followed by the girl’s mother.
- The murder conspiracy charge carries 10 to 30 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $10,000. Ko will stay in Indiana awaiting deportation as his case continues to be investigated, WHTI-TV10 reported. Ko has been living in the United States on a temporary visa with his mother since he was 11.
The original crime: Ko reportedly lured the 13-year-old victim from the practice room at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music in July 2019, telling her a teacher wanted to speak with her. He then led her to a locker room on the fourth floor, where he pinned her against the wall, WTHR reported.
- The suspect choked her when the girl began struggling and screaming for help. He also began cutting the victim with a knife. A school employee reportedly heard her screams and immediately came to help Ko off the victim, who had suffered more than 10 cut wounds on her arms and legs.
- Ko reportedly knew the victim as they had both attended the same camp the previous summer.
- After fleeing, the suspect returned home with blood on his hands and clothes. He reportedly told his mother he had pulled a prank on the girl, saying, “I don’t know what I did. I may have hurt her,” The Herald-Times reported.
- Police arrested Ko at his mother’s home, and he was charged as an adult, though he was17 at the time of the incident. He was initially charged with attempted murder, battery, kidnapping and strangulation and was placed on house arrest; however, after the trial was twice postponed, the charges were dismissed in a plea agreement when he pleaded guilty to criminal confinement while armed with a deadly weapon.
- Following his felony conviction, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents picked him up during his house arrest in Bloomington and transferred him into a detention center to be deported.