Exactly four years ago on Friday, 22-year-old Eunji Ban, an international student from South Korea, was brutally murdered while on her way to work in Australia.
Her killer, 23-year-old Alex Reuben McEwan, allegedly left his home that morning of Nov. 24, 2013, “looking to kill someone.” He has since blamed a “demon” inside his head and pleaded not guilty.
And that’s where the case dwelt in the last four years: McEwan’s mental health. The apprentice spray painter claimed that the demon, whom he calls “Jazzy,” has been troubling him since he was born.
The court heard on his trial on Sept. 25 (via ABC.Net):
“I bashed the s*** out of her face.
“She just screamed for help.
“I feel sorry for the Asian girl and her family.”
McEwan was telling the truth when he claimed he brutally beat Ban’s face — her injuries were so severe that a paramedic failed to identify her gender at first.
On Oct. 5, the court ruled that McEwan, again, is unfit to stand trial. And again, Ban’s parents must wait for an indefinite period before a Mental Health Tribunal declares the suspect as able.
Following the court’s decision, Ban’s parents penned a tragic yet hopeful letter before returning home. In it, they expressed how incomprehensible it is that “a killer’s ‘rights’ prevail over that of the deceased.”
Hyeonggyu Ban and Sukbun Jung wrote (via the Brisbane Times):
“Firstly, we regret that every member of the jury were Australians from a Caucasian background when the trial related to an alleged murder of an Asian girl by a Caucasian male.
“Secondly, it is difficult to understand the accused’s argument that he is suffering from hallucinations. The accused claimed that he was not mentally fit to stand trial. Even for a normal person, stress and tension of standing trial as an accused person would not be trivial.
“We understand that the court can stay the proceedings based on objective evidence from psychiatrist’s assessments but we are unable to understand how this trial could not continue when there had already been numerous previous psychological assessments where the accused was found to be fit to stand trial. In such case, how can we have any faith in the previous treatments and psychopathological assessments?
“It is heartbreaking and painful having to return home without seeing the final verdict and our daughter rest in peace. This grief and pain will not fade and she will never be replaceable. We will yet continue to try to live with smiles and thankfulness every day.”
Read the full letter here.