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Press Release

Korean Man Who Used Identity of Brother he Murdered to Commit Gun and Immigration Crimes Sentenced to Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Defendant was Deported following Prison Term for Murder, Returned Using Victim’s Identity

          A former Bellevue resident who was deported from the United States following a conviction for a 1984 murder, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to five years in prison for violating immigration and gun laws, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  JUNNE KYOO KOH, 51, was arrested in August 2014, after his contact with Bellevue Police in June and July 2014 triggered an investigation into his identity.  KOH used the identity of his deceased brother to return to the U.S. following deportation and to illegally purchase firearms.  At the sentencing hearing Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez said KOH “committed a very serious crime of violence in the past, that led to his deportation: the murder of his younger brother…. The offense is serious – deported for a very violent crime and voluntarily arming himself with not one but two firearms.”

            According to records filed in the case, JUNNE KYOO KOH called Bellevue Police in June 2014, claiming that his name was Sang K. Koh and that he believed his family was missing.  When police interviewed KOH at the family home he made accusations about neighbors being involved in kidnapping his parents and brother.  KOH talked about shooting the neighbors if they were involved.  Detectives removed one gun from the home and went with KOH to a storage locker to retrieve a second weapon.  The parents were ultimately located safely residing in Southern California.

          Further investigation revealed that KOH was convicted of the 1984 shooting death of his younger brother, Sang.  KOH had been sentenced to prison and deported.  However, KOH used his deceased brother’s identity to return to the United States and work for a number of years.  He also used his brother’s identity to purchase firearms, as he knew he was prohibited from possessing firearms because of the murder conviction.  KOH left the Bellevue area and was ultimately arrested August 6, 2014 in Los Angeles where he apparently was trying to locate his family.  On November 20, 2015, following a trial before Judge Martinez, KOH was found guilty of  being a felon in possession of a firearm, being an alien in possession of a firearm and illegal re-entry after deportation.

          The case was investigated by the Bellevue Police Department with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF).  The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Hobbs.  Mr. Hobbs is a Senior Deputy King County Prosecutor specially designated to prosecute firearms cases in federal court.

Updated March 17, 2016

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