(ANTIMEDIA) Spanaway, WA — In a case that has evoked strong emotions from multiple angles, a Washington state business owner has just been sentenced to eight years in prison for killing a suspected thief — one month after his wife was shot by a would-be robber.
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Min Kim, the owner of the Pacific Quick Shop convenience store in Spanaway, was sentenced Monday for the 2016 killing of Jakeel Mason. Kim says he caught Mason in the act of trying to steal, and the two men struggled, with Mason attempting to grab the firearm the store owner carried.
“I was down and he was on top of me and he was trying to reach my gun,” Kim explained in an interview in March of last year. But the prosecutor in the case argued that lethal action wasn’t warranted and showed video footage in court of Mason fleeing before Mr. Kim shot him in the back.
The store owner admitted he should never have fired the shot and appeared genuinely sorrowful at his sentencing:
“I did not have the right to take Mr. Mason’s life or anyone else’s life. I feel terrible that I did so and will have to live with that for the rest of my life.”
But the whole matter was complicated by Kim’s state of mind at the time of the event. Just a month earlier, his wife was shot in the stomach by a man trying to steal from the family’s store. She says her safety was weighing heavily on her husband’s mind and influenced his decision to pull the trigger:
“I was shot by a robber and after that my husband struggled in fear of losing me,” Lim Kim told the court. Judge John Hickman admitted it was a tough situation for all involved, but that the facts were the facts — Jakeel Mason shouldn’t have been killed that day.
Local media in Washington wrote Monday that as Kim was cuffed in court, “the tears and the anguish were unleashed from his family.” Mr. Kim was so remorseful of his actions that he asked the judge for permission to write a letter of apology to Mason’s family. Generally, no-contact orders apply in such cases, but in this instance, the court granted the request.