The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

Geer, signing off
Geer, signing off
by Caleb Geer, Ad Manager/Web Editor • April 27, 2024

I didn’t know what the hell I wanted to do with my life when I showed up on campus in the middle of the pandemic almost four years ago. I knew...

Looking back at my time at Simpson
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by Kyle Werner, Managing Editor & Social Media Manager • April 27, 2024

It all started with soup. No, really, let me explain. I was so passionate about the soup in SubConnection as a first year that it caught the...

So long, farewell, I’ve got no more stories to tell
So long, farewell, I’ve got no more stories to tell
by Jenna Prather, Editor-in-chief • April 27, 2024

Unlike my fellow student media seniors who’ve written this before me, I came into Simpson knowing exactly what I wanted to do. I did independent...

Former Simpson professor sentenced to 10 years

Photo from the Des Moines Register

Gowun Park, a former assistant professor of economics at Simpson who faced kidnapping and murder charges back in 2020, pled guilty on Thursday, April 25 to three charges including, voluntary manslaughter, third-degree kidnapping and domestic abuse-assault by choking causing bodily injury.

Police found Park’s husband tied to a chair with his hands and feet bound on Feb. 15, 2020, at their West Des Moines residence. One of the cords was wrapped around his neck. The cause of death, according to court documents, was strangulation.

Park claimed her husband was abusive and had given her permission to tie him up. In her defense, she claimed that he had even tied himself up.

According to the case notes, “Park said she had been with her husband in the study an hour before and had then moved to the living room, where she fell asleep while watching television. Park said that upon waking, she found Nam had tied himself to a chair that was leaning forward onto the floor. She cut him loose. Park indicated that her husband had been suicidal in the past, had attempted suicide about two years before, and had talked about suicide that day.”

Park was read her Miranda rights, but did not sign her Miranda wavier. Police also declined to tell Park her husband was dead, and instead said that he was still being seen by doctors.

Adding to her story during questioning, Park told police, “Nam had asked her to tie him up a few days before—but not on February 15—so he wouldn’t hurt her. Park disclosed that she had a video of this on her cell phone, but she reiterated she had not tied up Nam that evening.”

Park continued to claim her husband had tied himself up during questioning from police and was eventually made aware of her husband’s death, which led to her breaking down. After learning the information, Park struggled to cooperate with police, saying she didn’t remember her phone’s password and refusing to use her facial id to give the phone to authorities.

After 8 hours of questioning, Park was allowed to leave but returned to the station unannounced on February 16, in which officers performed more questioning. This time, signing her Miranda wavier and giving police access to her phone.

During this questioning, Park changed her story after admitting to police she had not been telling the truth. Her case notes state, “Nam had been very upset while they were driving together the day before and broke the mirror of his car. When the couple returned to the apartment, Park claimed that Nam asked to be tied up so he wouldn’t break something else or hurt himself. Park used zip ties and rope to restrain him. She said she tied the rope around his neck after putting a towel on him.”

Park also provided authorities with a signed document from her husband explaining his abuse toward Park.

After autopsy from medical examiners declared that Park’s husband did not die from suicide, Park was taken into custody.

At Park’s trial on April 25, she pled guilty under an Alford plea, in which the defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges there is enough evidence for a conviction if the case went to trial.

Park’s husband, Sung Woo Nam, had family in the courtroom who gave emotional testimony, claiming Park was the abuser in the relationship, not Nam.

When Park’s sentence was read off by the judge, her family’s cries echoed throughout the court room.

She was sentenced to 10 years concurrently in prison and was ordered to pay $150,000 in victim restitution to Nam’s family.

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Kenzie Van Haaften
Kenzie Van Haaften, Staff Reporter

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