Hate, Greed Behind Twin Murder Plot, Prosecutor Tells Jury


Portraying Jeen Han as a “calm, cool manipulator,” a prosecutor told Superior Court jurors Monday that the 23-year-old had the oldest motives in the book when she plotted with two teenagers last year to kill her identical twin: “hatred and greed.”

But defense attorneys for Jeen Han and the teenage boys also standing trial said the prosecution has not proven its case, especially the most serious charge of conspiracy to commit murder.

“You can sit here forever and you’re never going to know if there’s an agreement [to kill] between these three people because the prosecution hasn’t proven it to you,” Salvatore Ciulla, attorney for co-defendant John Sayarath said to the jury.


Both claims were made during closing arguments, which are expected to wrap up today.

During his remarks, Deputy Dist. Atty. Bruce Moore immediately downplayed the trial’s most dramatic moment--the overdose of sleeping pills taken by victim and prosecution witness Sunny Han two weeks ago.

She was hospitalized for three days and then returned to complete her testimony, but the defense used the incident to claim that she had taken the pills to drum up publicity for possible movie deals about the case.

“She was under a lot of pressure and she cracked,” Moore said. “She wanted to escape this world. I don’t think this goes to her credibility.”

Moore said that although Sunny Han has been paid to tell her story to tabloid television shows and is considering future deals, she has never changed her version of events since the day two men allegedly charged into her Irvine apartment, tied up her and a roommate and placed them in a bathtub.

“Play the ‘Leeza’ show, play the ‘Geraldo’ show. Bring it on. Her story has not changed,” the prosecutor said.

On those shows, Sunny Han has said that she does not believe her sister is guilty of plotting to kill her.


Moore said that Sunny Han’s belief is irrelevant to proving charges of conspiracy to commit murder, robbery, false imprisonment and other allegations that could send her sister and co-defendants Sayarath and Archie Bryant to jail for life. The three defendants have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The defense contends that Bryant, 17, and Sayarath, 16, went to Sunny Han’s Irvine apartment on Nov. 6, 1997, merely to retrieve some of Jeen Han’s belongings.

But Moore said the fact that Sunny Han and roommate Helen Kim were bound and gagged and put in a bathtub means they were about to be murdered. He said the defendants were “caught red-handed” when police arrived.

“In this case it’s clear that they tied up two girls, stuffed them in a bathtub and they did it with menace,” Moore said. “Thank God the Irvine police broke this up or we’d have two dead bodies.”

Moore said Jeen Han had been telling people for days that she wanted her sister dead and was trying to recruit someone to help her do it. The sisters had been feuding earlier in the year and Sunny punched Jeen in the face and had her arrested for using her credit cards and taking her car.

Moore said that just because Jeen Han was waiting outside when the attack took place, it doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be held equally responsible. He said receipts for twine, duct tape, Pine Sol cleaner, and plastic garbage bags proves that Jeen Han wanted to kill her sister, then clean up any mess.


Defense attorneys Ciulla and Roger Alexander, who concluded their remarks Monday, did not dispute that there was a break-in and that Sunny Han and her roommate were tied up at gunpoint.

“We don’t know when, [what] Jeen asked [them] to do stopped, and what the boys decided to do started,” said Alexander, the deputy public defender who represents Jeen Han.

But Alexander said for a conspiracy to be proven, “these three people had to get together, agree, and have the specific intent in their minds that Sunny Han was to be murdered.” He said that has not been done.

Contrasting Moore’s description of Jen Han as cool and calculated, Alexander reminded the jury that an Irvine police officer called to the scene that day encountered Jeen Han in the parking lot and described her as “anxious, upset, frantic.”

“Does that in the furthest reaches of your imagination sound like someone who has just conspired to kill her sister?” Alexander asked. “That just doesn’t make any sense.”

Ciulla acknowledged that his client is guilty of burglary and false imprisonment, but not of conspiracy to commit murder.


“There’s been no evidence in this case that John Sayarath ever intended to kill anyone--none,” Ciulla said.

“Convict him of what he did, not of what you think might have been in his mind,” he added. “These boys got tricked into something they should have never been involved with. They had no idea what they were getting into.”

Bryant’s attorney, Ernest Eady, will present his closing argument to the jury today and be followed by rebuttal remarks from Moore.