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Son loses appeal of conviction in parents’ murders

A Spokane man serving a life sentence for murdering his parents has lost his appeal of the conviction.

The Washington state Court of Appeals rejected Bryan Kim’s claim that his conviction was the result of several “assignments of error” by the trial court.

Kim was sentenced in 2008 to life in prison with no possibility of parole for the murders. He was a senior honors student at Mt. Spokane High School at the time of the slayings.

The bodies of Richard and Teresa Kim were found in an outbuilding at their Mount Spokane home in December 2006. Kim, who had a history of mental illness, was found guilty of stabbing respiratory therapist Richard Kim five times. Teresa Kim, a Rogers High School math teacher, was asphyxiated by zip ties placed around her neck. She also suffered blunt force trauma to her head and body, according to court records.

In his appeal, Bryan Kim argued that during the trial the court should have excluded two statements he made after his arrest because each was “impermissibly solicited by police while he was in custody,” and that he should have received instructions on the voluntariness of his statements, according to court documents.

Kim also claimed that the court abused its discretion by refusing to allow Kim’s defense to recall a Spokane police detective to the witness stand in an effort to challenge the testimony of another prosecution witness. He also said in his appeal that evidence was insufficient to support the charge that the murders were premeditated.

The court said Kim’s statements to detectives were unsolicited and made voluntarily and therefore admissible. Kim told two detectives he had been arrested numerous times and “gotten off.” After they informed him he was under arrest for killing his parents, Kim told the detectives he would “cry himself to sleep” and said, “Let’s get this going.”

The appeals court denied Kim’s contention that the trial court abused its discretion by not allowing the recall of a state’s witness, a detective who said Kim’s principal told officials he had become a “loner.” Kim failed to establish how that statement made charges more or less probable, the opinion said. The court opinion also said evidence showed the murders were premeditated – that Kim “reacted angrily to his parents’ requirement” that he follow rules, pay rent and pay for his medications after he turned 18, and the demand by his parents just before their deaths that Kim move out of their home.