Police / Fire

Ji and Choi hearings delayed

Defense attorney Gregory LaForge asks for two weeks to review Ji’s mental competency evaluation.
Sang Ji is escorted into the courtroom for his May 1 hearing. Photo by Noe Magaña.

The mental competency report for Hollister resident Sang Ji, accused of murdering his wife Yoon “Clara” Ji in 2017, was delayed at a May 1 hearing. South Korean national Jung Choi, who is also accused in the murder, had her hearing for charges delayed as well. Ji will return to court on May 24, while Choi will return on June 28.

Ji and Choi appeared in court together, though they are now being tried separately.

Gregory Laforge, Ji’s attorney, told Judge Steven Sanders that he had received the doctor’s report that morning and needed at least two weeks to review it. Ji’s mental competency evaluation was conducted on April 18.

On March 29, LaForge requested a 1368 motion for an inquiry into the defendant’s mental competency before trial. He told BenitoLink at the time that he didn’t feel Ji was competent to stand trial.

Sanders set a new hearing for the results of Ji’s evaluation for May 24.

Sanders also set a May 17 deadline for Choi’s attorney, Harris Damkar, to file a 995 motion request for the trial judge to dismiss all or part of the criminal case. The deadline for San Benito County District Attorney Candice Hooper to submit a response is June 3.

At the May 1 hearing, Damkar said that if the 995 motion is declined, he plans on setting other motions.

Ji and Choi were arrested in December 2017 in connection with the disappearance of Yoon Ji, which was reported by one of Ji’s daughters. Ji led investigators to Yoon Ji’s body buried in a shallow grave later that month.

Other related BenitoLink articles:

Sang Ji hearing moved to May 1

Ji and Choi will be tried separately

Ji and Choi to be tried for murde

Sheriff’s investigator: Sang Ji says Jung Choi killed his wife

UPDATE: Missing local woman’s body found buried near San Juan Bautista; two accused of her killing appear at Superior Court

Pair Arrested on Suspicion of Murder and conspiracy to Commit Murder



Noe Magaña

Noe Magaña is BenitoLink Co-Editor and Content Manager. He joined BenitoLink as reporter intern and was soon brought on staff as a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. He is a San Benito High School alumnus with a bachelor's in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate's Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school's newspaper. He was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State's Spartan Daily. He is a USC Center for Health Journalism 2020 California Fellow.