Chyung refuses offer; murder trial to begin Jan. 6

Chihan Eric Chyung, who is accused of murdering his wife, Paige A. Bennett, at their Norwich home in June 2009, rejected an offer Tuesday morning in New London Superior Court to plead guilty in exchange for a 45-year prison sentence.

Chyung, 50, of Norwich, has opted for a trial, and jury selection will begin Jan. 6, according to Judge Hillary B. Strackbein. He remains free on a $1.25 million bond, with electronic monitoring, while his case is pending.

Chyung and Bennett, who was a 46-year-old nursing assistant at The William W. Backus Hospital, had been married for less than three weeks when Chyung allegedly shot and killed her at their Taftville home. Chyung admitted the couple had been arguing before he shot her but said his Glock 9 mm pistol discharged accidentally. Testimony at the upcoming trial is expected to center around the weapon’s safety features.

Norwich police initially charged Chyung with manslaughter, but prosecutor David J. Smith upgraded the charges to murder in June 2011. Chyung is represented by Brian J. Woolf and Kathleen J. Rallo of the Woolf Law Firm in East Hartford.

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