Were Movies Yoo Young-chul's Murder Textbooks?

    July 19, 2004 16:28

    With police officers, the serial-killer suspect Yoo Young-chul (masked) conducts an on-the-spot inspection of a murder scene Monday on Wolmi Island in Incheon where he killed a vendor and abandoned the body.
    It's hard to believe that this clean one-room apartment could have been the scene of gruesome murders. When we got news of notorious serial killer 34-year-old Yoo Young-chul's arrest, we visited Yoo's home, a second story one-room apartment in Nogosan-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul. Well ordered jackets and dress shirts, a potted plant and fish bowl... it didn't look like the room of a serial killer.

    Yoo kept three murder movie DVDs in the drawer of his computer desk that seem to speak of his own crimes -- the Korean film "Public Enemy" and U.S. films "Very Bad Things" and "Normal Life." It would seem that the Yoo killings have much in common, perhaps coincidentally, with "Public Enemy," which depicted the life of a serial killer. In the film, there is a depraved scene of the main character, a killer, going into his own house at night and murdering his elderly parents, and he targets older, wealthy people.



    What's more, in the dark comedy "Very Bad Things," there is a part in which someone dismembers a corpse with a chainsaw. On the movie poster as well, there is a picture of star actor Christian Slater holding a chainsaw, reminding one of Yoo's crimes. He also imitated another movie scene when he pretended to walk with a limp at the time he was arrested in order to lull the police into inattention. In the film "Usual Suspects," viewers are left speechless when it's revealed that among several suspects, the real criminal is Kevin Spacey's character, who walked with a limp. In Yoo's lair, one gets the strong impression, from both the DVDs and DVD magazines, that movies were his "criminal textbook."

    Murder films found in serial killer Yoo Young-chul's computer drawer


    As soon as you enter his room, your eyes are drawn to a black scrapbook lying on his bed. It was full of newspaper articles and personal notes on a variety of things like computers, furniture, marksmanship, stereos and luxury cars. In one section of notes entitled "albums," one is struck by how Yoo neatly ordered famous Western pop singers, their representative songs and their musical characteristics. Pictures of the flagship luxury car of a certain local automaker revealed his interest in the wealthy. Despite being a cruel, murderous monster, he seemed to have much interest in his family. The most eye-catching articles in his scrapbook were those on family package trips to Jeju Island. Having exactly written out how much it would cost to take such a trip, it appeared Yoo dreamed of a happy family life with his 11-year-old son. A children's drawing book, presumed to be his son's, was discovered in the bookshelf at the head of his bed.

    Yoo was a sharp-minded criminal. Looking at his sketchbook, one could see that his skill was no less than that of professional cartoonists. His still-life pictures, female nudes, and entertainer portraits were just like the real thing. The pictures of female actresses and entertainers found in his scrapbook also revealed his lust for women.

    (Kim In-gu, clark@chosun.com)
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