A 45-year-old Palmdale man pleaded guilty Wednesday to killing his ex-wife and four others then setting a Quartz Hill home on fire during a bloody rampage in 2008, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.
Jae Shim pleaded guilty to the first-degree murders of his ex-wife, Jenny Young Park, 34; her daughter, Jamie, 13; her son, Justin, 11; her relative, Joseph Ciganek, 60; and her boyfriend, Si Young Yoon, 34.
Shim also pleaded guilty to arson of an inhabited structure.
In addition, Shim admitted the special circumstances of lying in wait and multiple murders and that he personally used a Samurai sword and baseball bat to stab and beat the victims to death on June 23, 2008. [Read more on the circumstances behind the murders in a 2008 LA Times article here.]
Shim’s plea before Superior Court Judge Larry Fidler Wednesday was in exchange for prosecutors agreeing not to seek the death penalty against Shim if he agrees to testify completely and truthfully against co-defendant Steve Kwon.
As part of his plea, Shim provided information that led authorities to the remains of Si Young Yoon, who had been missing since June 23, 2008. His remains were discovered in December in Mexico.
Shim is facing five consecutive life without the possibility of parole terms when he returns for possible sentencing on May 5.
Kwon, 44, is awaiting trial on five counts of capital murder, one count of arson of an inhabited structure and one count of accessory after the fact. He returns to court on April 2 for pretrial. If convicted, Kwon is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman with the Major Crimes Division is prosecuting the case.
The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.