Arguments and sentencing postponed in Chyung murder case

Arguments on a defense motion to overturn the murder conviction of Chihan Eric Chyung have been postponed to July 2, the date that initially was set for sentencing in the Norwich murder case.

Sentencing has been rescheduled for July 22.

New London Superior Court Judge Barbara Bailey Jongbloed postponed today’s scheduled arguments after defense attorney Brian J. Woolf said he and attorney Kathleen E. Rallo needed more time to review the case law that prosecutor David J. Smith said he may use in his argument.

A jury in New London Superior Court in March found Chyung, 51, of Norwalk guilty of murder and manslaughter for the June 2, 2009, shooting death of his wife, Paige Bennett. Chyung admitted he shot his wife of just three weeks after they had a protracted argument at their Taftville home, but said the shooting was an accident. He said his Glock 9 mm discharged accidentally when he attempted to pack it in a suitcase.

The 12-member jury deliberated about three hours before announcing it had found Chyung guilty of murder and manslaughter with a firearm. His attorneys in April filed a motion for judgment of acquittal, saying the verdict contains legally inconsistent findings concerning Chyung’s state of mind and citing cases in which higher courts have overturned such verdicts. They say the murder charge requires that the jury find that Chyung acted intentionally, while the manslaughter charge requires a finding that he acted with reckless disregard for human life.

In a memorandum opposing the defense motion, the prosecutor asserted that the defense participated in a conference with the judge in which the murder and manslaughter charges were discussed, and they agreed to let the charges go to the jury. According to Smith, the defense also asked that the jury be allowed to consider the lesser included charge of second-degree manslaughter with a firearm, a request that was granted by Jongbloed.

Chyung, who was free on $1 million bond prior to and during his trial, is now being held in lieu of $5 million at the Northern Correctional Institution, according to the Department of Correction.

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