Accused killer back in custody after allegedly making threat

Accused murderer Chihan Eric Chyung, who has been free on a $1 million bond while his case is pending in New London Superior Court, was returned to custody Tuesday after a judge learned he had been arrested Nov. 12 for allegedly making a death threat.

Chyung, 49, is accused of fatally shooting Paige Ann Bennett, his wife of just three weeks, at their Norwich home in June 2009. He posted a $1 million bond in August.

Tuesday morning, Judge Susan B. Handy increased Chyung’s bond by $250,000 after learning he had been arrested earlier this month in Norwalk. According to prosecutor Lawrence J. Tytla, Chyung was charged with second-degree threatening after he was involved in a dispute over a generator with the ex-boyfriend of his girlfriend.

Tytla, reading from the police report of the incident, said, “He got on the phone and said if they did not drop the issue, he was going to come over and kill everybody.”

The boyfriend did not take the threat seriously, but a woman he was living with, who had a young child in the house, notified police. Tytla asked for a bond increase, noting that when the underlying charge is so serious, the state does not have the luxury of not taking the threatening incident seriously.

Defense attorney Brian J. Woolf said Chyung, a master carpenter, has since his release been living in Norwalk with his girlfriend and his mother and working full-time. Woolf and Chyung have been working with experts to prepare Chyung’s case for trial and said that it would be an “impingement” if Chyung was re-incarcerated.

“I need him out,” Woolf said.

The bail bond company that issued the $1 million bond has been monitoring Chyung with a GPS unit, and Chyung has been “100 percent compliant” with the conditions of his release, he said.

Woolf said he spoke with the woman who called police, and she told him she wished the incident had never occurred and that she does not want to pursue the case in court.

Judge Handy said it is not unusual for people to recant their statements after they call police about an incident.

“He’s been arrested for threatening to kill people,” she said, adding that it was not acceptable or appropriate.

Chyung, who has been wearing business attire to his court appearances and sitting in the front row of the courtroom, was led into the lockup by judicial marshals. It was unclear whether he would be able to post the additional $250,000 bond.

Bennett’s mother, Sheila Monter, was relieved that Chyung was back in custody.

“I want him in an orange jumpsuit for the rest of his life,” she said.

— Karen Florin


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