Conditions of release placed on accused murderer

A New London Superior Court judge on Wednesday placed several conditions on the release of accused murderer Chihan Eric Chyung, who surprised the state last week when he posted his $1 million bond.

New London prosecutor David J. Smith on Friday filed a motion requesting that the court order Chyung, who has relatives in Korea, to surrender his passport and to not have contact with the family members of victim Paige Ann Bennett.

Judge Patrick J. Clifford granted the motion, noting that there were no conditions placed on the bond because typically defendants can't post such a high amount.

Chyung's attorney Brian J. Woolf said his client would accept the conditions that the court placed on his release but noted that Chyung hasn't had a passport since he was a child.

Smith told the court that the state was in the process of verifying whether Chyung has a valid passport.

The court also granted Smith's request Wednesday to place another condition: that Chyung not possess any deadly weapons.

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 last Tuesday after posting the bond.

Because Chyung was released directly from prison, the only condition of his release at the time was that he show up for his next court date.

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. According to court records, Chyung is living in Norwalk.

Clifford said that in light of the fact that Chyung posted such a high bond, he was glad he did not grant the defense's request last December to have the state pay for its defense experts.

Woolf said he filed the motion in good faith and did not know at the time that "people would come in his support and find those funds."

Bennett's family was present in court. Her mother, Sheila Monter, has been to every court appearance.

"We have been going through this for three years," Monter said. "It's a shock to see him out. It just seems so unbelievable."

The case was continued to Oct. 10.

i.larraneta@theday.com

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