Police / Fire

Preliminary hearing for murder suspects Ji and Choi pushed to March

New delay in discovery presentation.

San Benito County Superior Court Judge Steven Sanders on Jan. 24 told Hollister resident Sang Ji and South Korean national Jung Choi that their preliminary examination hearing would take place March 5. The pair is accused of murdering Ji’s wife, Yoon Ji, and the two were arrested in December 2017.

The case has been delayed numerous times, primarily because evidence that the prosecution intends to present has not been shared in a timely manner with defense attorneys Greg LaForge and Harry Damkar.

Evidence was expected to be presented Jan. 22 and 23 so the judge could determine if there was enough to move to trial. However, the hearing was moved to Jan. 24 because there was still unpresented discovery. The preliminary hearing was moved when the prosecution and defense agreed on the March 5 date.

After Ji’s daughters filed a missing person report with the police when they suspected something had happened to their mother, a search warrant was issued Dec. 6, 2017. The FBI searched the Ji home, after which Ji and Choi were arrested on suspicion of murder. Later that month, Yoon Ji’s body was discovered buried near San Juan Road above San Juan Bautista.

In March 2018, San Benito County Sheriff Captain Eric Taylor testified in civil court that Ji had said Choi killed his wife with a baseball bat and that Ji said he saw it happen.

Ji and Choi remain in custody as they await trial.


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John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a BenitoLink reporter and an author. He has many years experience as a freelance photojournalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer who has worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and underwent graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John has worked as a script doctor and his own script, God's Club, was released as a motion picture in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime that are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: johnchadwell@benitolink.com.