BENSALEM, Pa. (Sept. 3, 2004) — A 31-year-old man was found guilty but mentally ill for shooting his boss to death at a Firestone Tire & Auto Center in December.
Ken Kim will receive a mandatory life sentence, authorities said. Prosecutors had not sought the death penalty in the case. Mr. Kim, who was convicted Aug. 26, will be sentenced Sept. 20. Mr. Kim shot Joseph Phillips, 39, manager of the Bensalem tire shop, in the chest on Dec. 12. Mr. Phillips never regained consciousness and died on Jan. 10. On the day of the shooting, Mr. Phillips reportedly admonished Mr. Kim and told him to go home after Mr. Kim drove a vehicle out of a service bay without properly securing the lug nuts. Witnesses said Mr. Kim walked out to his truck, retrieved a gun, returned to the bay and shot Mr. Phillips.
Mr. Kim's defense argued at the trial that he suffered symptoms of post-traumatic stress from various factors, including his childhood in war-torn Vietnam, said Karen Diaz, chief deputy for the Bucks County district attorney. She said the jury's finding suggested that an illness was involved, but Mr. Kim is still criminally responsible for his actions.
With the illness finding, she said Mr. Kim could serve part of his sentence in a special treatment center if the judge chooses. But Ms. Diaz stressed that Mr. Kim would return to state prison after the treatment.
“He is still always going to be part of the state prison system,” she said.