Suspect in executive's slaying: 'I have made many mistakes'
In a blog posted two weeks after detectives say Orange County Internet advertising executive Edward Younghoon Shin killed his partner and covered up his death last year, the businessman wrote even a “hardened killer” is worthy of being saved by "the Creator."
Orange County prosecutors allege that Christopher Ryan Smith, a 32-year-old executive, was killed by Shin in their San Juan Capistrano office.
Shin then used Smith's email account to contact Smith's family and tell incredible tales of a journey across Africa that included paragliding near Johannesburg before disappearing as he traveled to the Congo and Rwanda. Shin was arrested last week and charged with Smith's killing. Detectives said Shin confessed to killing Smith and writing the emails last year but has not revealed what he did with Smith's body.
Detectives searched Shin’s offices in Irvine Friday and have been examining his computers and Internet postings, including one referencing his religion and the salvation of a hardened killer. In a June 23, 2010, blog post, Shin wrote about his life being "nothing short of a roller coast ride."
"Though most of it was self imposed through a series of bad decisions guided by bad judgment, I can safely say that I am happy to be here. Regardless of the outcome, at the end of the day it's only about two things: 1. Your family and circle of friends and 2. Your faith," he wrote.
He wrote that his salvation was "the ultimate gift." "…Because no matter what, no matter if you are a hardened killer hanging on the cross just a few hours away from your death or born into a good Christian home whose family guides you to Jesus before you even commit serious sins, we are all people. People worthy of being saved by a higher power who was our Creator," Shin wrote. "So yes, I'm sorry. And yes, one day I will make good the best way that I can on the things I've done. I can't say when, but hopefully sooner than later."
Orange County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jim Amormino said detectives were aware of the blog.
Shin acknowledged he took "shortcuts" to get out of trouble.
"When you are on the top by yourself, it's very lonely and when you are immature and ill equipped to handle conflict because of character and under-developed integrity issues, you make mistakes," he wrote.
He also said that he looks at his life "with a heavy heart knowing the people that I've hurt along the way." He said he hopes to "rectify everything in some small measures" and know that it was "good enough in God's eyes."
In addition to Shin, authorities arrested his personal assistant, Kenny Roy Kraft, last week for allegedly helping Shin dispose of Smith's belongings and vehicle. He has pleaded not guilty. Shin has not entered a plea.
Steven Smith, Christopher's father, issued an appeal for help. "Our family wants Christopher's remains back. We want to know where Christopher is. Someone out there can help us." Anybody with information on the case is asked to call the Orange County Sheriff's Department homicide unit at (714) 647-4578. Calls can also be placed to (866) 847-6273.
-- Richard Winton
Photos: (Christopher Ryan Smith, left, and Edward Younghoon Shin. Credit: Smith family and Orange County Sheriff's Department