19-Year-Old Allegedly Recruited Cellmate to Torture, Kill 14 People Connected to His Case

A man who pled guilty to beating and attacking a 13-year-old girl allegedly tried convincing his cellmate to kill 14 people for him once he was let out.

Dongwook Ko allegedly gave his unidentified cellmate at the Clay County Jail in Brazil, Indiana, who he thought was a gang member, a list of people he reportedly wanted to be tortured and killed. He also included a map of their presumed addresses. Among the names allegedly listed were the victim's parents, two prosecutors, a journalist, and witnesses that testified for the defense. Ko had allegedly offered to pay the cellmate $20,000 for the killings, along with an additional $2,500 for bail. Ko's mother had already been sending the cellmate commissary money at her son's request.

Upon Ko's initial offer, the anonymous cellmate agreed to wear a wire and helped authorities record conversations regarding Ko's plan. The plans, according to local newspaper The Herald-Times, were allegedly graphic and gruesome, with Ko allegedly detailing how he wanted his targets to die. He was caught and charged when he reportedly began discussing his plans with who he thought was the cellmate's uncle that would help carry out the attacks, but was actually a sheriff's department detective.

Ko was initially imprisoned for the attack of a 13-year-old girl attending a violin camp at Indiana University. He was originally sentenced in November to eight years of home detention, along with two years of probation and psychological counseling. However, he was then detained by immigration agents at his mother's home and has been in custody ever since. Ko carries a temporary U.S. residency visa and will be deported to South Korea after his murder conspiracy charge is situated.

Arrested
Stock image of a man in handcuffs. A man convicted of beating a 13-year-old girl is now accused of trying to hire someone to torture and murder her parents, along with 12 others. Getty Images

Ko appeared Monday morning in a Clay County court for an initial hearing. A message seeking comment on the allegations was left Monday by The Associated Press for one of Ko's attorneys.

Ko reportedly told the detective on the call to start with the girl's father, whose name was at the top of the list and then work his way through the others in order. He provided details, indicating that some victims were to be tortured, according to the affidavit.

Ko pleaded guilty this year to criminal confinement while armed with a deadly weapon for attacking the girl with a pocketknife in July 2019 as she was playing her violin alone in a Merrill Hall practice room during IU's Summer String Academy. Authorities said Ko knew the victim from the previous summer's violin camp.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.