Prosecutor seeks surrender of accused murderer's passport

New London prosecutor David J. Smith is seeking additional conditions of release for accused murderer Chihan Eric Chyung, who posted $1 million bond earlier this week and was released from prison.

Smith filed a motion Friday requesting that Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Clifford order that Chyung, who has relatives in Korea, surrender his passport. Smith also is asking the judge to order Chyung to have no contact with the family members of victim Paige Ann Bennett.

The prosecutor will argue his motion on Wednesday, when Chyung will be required to appear in court.

Chyung, 49, is charged with fatally shooting Bennett, to whom he had been married for just three weeks, at their Norwich home in June 2009. Chyung had been held in lieu of $1 million bond while his case was pending. He was released from the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution on Tuesday after posting the bond.

Since Chyung was released directly from prison, the only condition of his release was that he show up for his next court date on Sept. 13. The judge set a hearing date for next week after receiving Smith’s motion on Friday.

Defense attorney Brian J. Woolf said that Chyung’s family and friends had raised the bond money — including a $70,000 fee — and that the bond company, 3-D Bail Bonds, was monitoring Chyung with a GPS system. Woolf did not say where Chyung was living.

Bennett’s family members were surprised and alarmed to hear that Chyung had been released.

“I’m just astounded that he was in jail for over three years and all of the sudden he gets bailed out,” Bennett’s mother, Sheila Monter, said. “I don’t understand it at all. It’s almost time for the trial to start. It makes no sense.”

Woolf said it would be easier to prepare the case for trial now that his client is not incarcerated. The defense admits that Chyung shot Bennett with his Glock 9 mm handgun but says it was accidental. Woolf said he is consulting with experts and needed Chyung to be available.

Monter said she thinks Chyung intentionally killed her daughter.

“I don’t buy that at all and I never have,” she said of Chyung’s defense.

k.florin@theday.com

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