LOS ANGELES – Sentencing is set for Aug. 21 for two men who used a baseball bat and samurai sword to murder two men, a woman and her two children in a Quartz Hill home in 2008.
One of the defendants, Steve Kwon, 44, pleaded guilty Thursday as a jury was being picked for his trial. The other defendant, Jae Shim, 46, pleaded guilty Feb. 4.
Both men pleaded to the first-degree murders of Shim’s 34-year-old ex-wife, Jenny Young Park; her daughter, Jamie, 13; her 11-year-old son, Justin; her relative, Joseph Ciganek, 60; and her boyfriend, Si Young Yoon, 34.
Shim was set to testify against Kwon as part of his plea deal.
Shim also admitted the special circumstance allegations of lying in wait and multiple murders and that he personally used a samurai sword and baseball bat to stab and beat his ex-wife and the other victims to death in Ciganek’s home.
Both men also pleaded guilty to one count of arson of an inhabited structure.
The five victims were stabbed and bludgeoned to death on June 23, 2008. The two children, along with their mother, also were set on fire.
Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman with the Major Crimes Division said Shim became enraged that his ex-wife was recently engaged to Yoon.
Shim enlisted the help of Kwon, a lifelong friend from Korea, to murder the victims.
Ciganek’s wife was also an intended victim, but survived because she was not home when the crimes occurred.
As part of his plea agreement, Shim helped lead authorities to the remains of Yoon, whose body had been dumped in Mexico.
Shim faces five consecutive life terms without parole, but avoided a possible death sentence as a result of his plea. Kwon faces 125 years to life in prison.
Previous related story: Palmdale man pleads to murdering 5 people