After a court-ordered mental health evaluation, Hollister resident Sang Ji was determined on May 24 to be mentally competent to stand trial for the alleged murder of his wife, Yoon (aka Clara) Ji.
San Benito County Superior Court Judge Steven Sanders set a date of June 28 for a pre-trial conference for Ji. He asked Ji’s defense attorney Gregory LaForge how much time he would need to read transcripts and be ready. LaForge said he would need at least six weeks. Sanders asked LaForge how his client pleaded. LaForge said, “Not guilty.”
Sanders asked about Ji’s co-defendant, South Korean national Jung Choi, who will return to court on June 28 as well. After Sanders set the date, the Korean interpreter said he was not available then. Choi does not speak English and has needed an interpreter. Even though Ji speaks English, he has also used the services of a second interpreter.
District Attorney Candice Hooper suggest bringing in Ji and Choi separately so they could use a single interpreter. Sanders said no and that they would need to find another interpreter by June 28.
Ji and Choi were arrested in December 2017, after one of Ji’s daughters reported her mother missing. According to a report by the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office, the daughters were suspicious of Ji’s claim that his wife had returned to South Korea. One daughter became increasingly concerned after relatives in South Korea had told her Yoon had not returned. Ji eventually led investigators to Yoon’s body buried in a shallow grave later that month.
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