Man sentenced in sister's murder on condition he receive mental health treatment

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Friday, July 12, 2019

Sonny Kim, 19, has been sentenced in the death of his sister Ashley. (Source: WRDW)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A man has pleaded guilty and been sentenced in the death of his sister three years ago.

Now-19-year-old Sonny Kim was arrested in 2016 after he shot his 23-year-old sister Ashley Kim multiple times. Ashley Kim was pronounced dead at the scene.

He'll have a chance at parole in 30 years when he's 49 years old. Still to this day no one, including Sonny, knows why he did this.

He told investigators he had not been planning it, he didn't even want to. He just did it. It was a very emotional hearing as the family had the chance to speak to their son, possibly for the last time.

"Sonny, it's been a treasure to be your mom and I look forward to the future. I love you, son," said Nicci Brazzell, his mother.

Teary-eyed and shaken, Nicci Brazzell looked her son in the eyes after he pleaded guilty to the murder of his 23-year-old sister, Ashley Kim.

"I would've never seen this coming. I believe that the world is full of something that is very evil and dark," said Brazzell.

In 2016, just days before Christmas, Sonny shot his sister while she was sitting on the couch.

He later told investigators he had planned to kill his stepfather, mother and sister, and then himself in that order.

"I will say, one of the most disturbing things about this case are the crime scene photos because you literally see Christmas decorations and the slain body of a 23-year-old girl on the floor," said the prosecutor.

Almost three years later and the question of why still remains a mystery.

"His fear was about knowing at any point in time he could simply not know what he was doing and do something with no reason or not have any control over it," said the prosecutor.

Forensic psychologist Allison Paganelli says she asked Sonny questions about this interrogation video, which shows him talking to people who are not there.

"He described after watching the video of himself: 'I imagine if you were able to look into a parallel dimension and watch yourself, it would be like that,'" said Paganelli.

We may never know why he did it, but why he pleaded guilty comes down to this.

"He wants to take responsibility for this and always has but what he feels is this is the only way to bring closure to his family and to himself and before his god to move on with his life," said Paganelli.

Along with felony and malice murder, Sonny also pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and one charge of possession of a firearm during a crime. He has been diagnosed by several doctors with Aspergers along with disorders similar to schizophrenia.

The judge presiding sentenced him to life in prison with the possibility of parole, on the condition he receives mental health treatment while incarcerated.

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