SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man is scheduled to face trial today for murdering his childhood friend, who was on vacation visiting from South Korea, execution-style in the back of the head. Beong Kwun Cho, 56, Cerritos, was indicted by the Orange County Grand Jury on June 16, 2011, with one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a firearm causing death. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in state prison. Opening statements are scheduled to begin this afternoon, July 6, 2016 in Department C-45, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Cho is accused of knowing victim Yeon Woo Lee from the time that they attended elementary school in South Korea together. Around 2003, Cho moved to California with his wife and two children.
In November 2010, Lee began a vacation in the United States and spent some of his time in Orange County with Cho and his family. He was traveling by himself while his wife stayed in Korea.
At approximately 12:00 a.m. on Jan. 25, 2011, Cho is accused of murdering Lee by shooting him execution-style once in the back of the head. He is accused of leaving the victim's body partially hidden by a disabled vehicle in a remote industrial area of Anaheim. Cho is accused of taking the victim's identification, tossing it in a nearby dumpster, and then fleeing the scene and returning home to his family.
At approximately 4:00 a.m. that same morning, a street sweeper discovered the victim's body and contacted the Anaheim Police Department, who investigated the case and arrested Cho on Jan. 26, 2011.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Scott Simmons of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.
Orange County District Attorney / Case # 11ZF0113 / July 06, 2016