Divorce sheds light on 1999 murder

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Edward Gregory helped Angela Soon He Kim and her husband buy a house, pay bills and run a business. He even cut short his last visit with his daughter to feed Kim's dogs.
     
In return, prosecutors said, the couple drugged and suffocated the 62-year-old man. They then collected $150,000 of his life insurance money because nobody suspected that Gregory had been killed.
     
But Kim, 41, pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree manslaughter and conspiracy to commit aggravated murder. She was sentenced to 17 years in prison in exchange for her continued cooperation with prosecutors, including testimony against her husband, Norman Schlunt, at his upcoming trial.
     
The case didn't unfurl until the couple's marriage fell apart.
     
Kim confided in a friend about the 1999 killing, citing it as a reason she feared her husband, who had been Gregory's business partner.
     
Kim's friend called police, and the couple were charged with aggravated murder in March 2006.
     
During Kim's plea and sentencing hearing in Multnomah County Circuit Court, one of Gregory's daughters, Trenna Landers, said her father loved Kim as he loved his own children.
     
"I think he would be most angry that you hurt his family," Landers said. "You are a murderer, and our society has no use for you."
    
Kim declined to speak.
     
According to information released during a 2006 court hearing, Kim and Schlunt were deep in debt in the late 1990s. Knowing that Gregory, who lived with them, had listed them as recipients of his life insurance, they devised a plan.

They used the Internet to order Ativan, a drug used to treat insomnia. They ground up 25 of the pills and mixed them into Gregory's chili.
     
When Gregory dozed off, they put him to bed, according to the court information. Later, they crept in and Kim sat on his legs while Schlunt allegedly straddled his chest and placed a bag over his head.
     
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)