On October 16th, a South Korean court announced the verdict in the case of a woman who murdered her four-year-old autistic child.
This past June, desperate to end the difficulties of raising her severely autistic daughter, the woman loaded the child into her car, drove it into a highway median, and finally strangled the girl to death.
The jury gave the woman a three-year prison sentence, with special consideration for the burdens of raising her autistic child.
Netizens were split between sympathizing with the mother’s state of mind and condemning anyone who would kill their own child.
Korea has recently made the news for its treatment of autistic children, which some say face strong obstacles in a society that emphasizes school performance and a good bloodline.
Article from the local newspaper:
Probation for Mother who Killed Her Autistic Daughter
In 2010, a young mother received news from the hospital that hit her like a lightning bolt on a clear day.
On that day, Ms. Seo, 36, learned that her daughter was autistic.
The two-year-old girl had been completely unable to communicate with her parents, and just kept repeating the same bizarre gestures over and over again.
For Ms. Seo, watching her child in the grips of the disease was worse than being in hell.
Looking ahead to the bleak future that faced her and her young daughter, Seo made a decision and in June of 2013 loaded her uncomprehending daughter into the family car.
Her intentions were to end all of the pain by murdering her daughter and then killing herself.
Seo drove around the outskirts of the city of Yeosu and Samcheon-po, but she couldn’t bring herself to violate the basic law of motherhood.
Two days after, she seemed to have made up her mind and eased her worries, when suddenly her daughter’s symptoms grew worse.
Seo began driving on the highway between Pohang and Daegu, her daughter beside her continuously unbuttoning the shirt and then asking mother button it. Finally, the car collided with the highway median.
Seo, seeing her daughter screaming from the shock of the collision, decided she couldn’t take it anymore and grabbed her daughter’s neck with both hands.
On October 16th, Judge Choi Weol-young of Daegu’s 12th District Court announced that the jury in Seo’s case had delivered their verdict on the charge of murder of a four-year-old autistic girl, three years in prison, five years of probation, and 120 hours of community service.
The court stated that, “in the case of a woman who completely abandoned her responsibility to care for her young daughter, the sentence was inevitable.
“However, it is worth taking into consideration Seo’s motivation, her desire to commit the crime due to desperation at the hardship of raising her child and intention to take her own life as well.
We believe that Seo will spend the rest of her life weighed down by a punishment much worse than a life sentence.”
Of the seven-member jury, four were in favor of the three year prison sentence with five years of probation.