Status Hearing in the Kim Hyunsu Murder Case
I attended a status hearing that was held today in Montgomery County Circuit Court in the case of Brian Patrick O’Callaghan, the Damascus, MD man charged with the murder of little Kim Hyunsu, whom O’Callaghan and his wife adopted in February of 2014.
The hearing took place in the courtroom of Judge John W. Debelius, III. The defendant, Brian Patrick O’Callaghan, was present, along with his attorneys, Steven J. McCool and Julia M. Fisher of the law firm of Mallon & McCool. Two prosecutors represented the State of Maryland, who from what I was able to hear during the discussion and from the case search record were Donna Fenton and Sherri Koch.
Following some initial discussion about a motion made earlier by the defense, Judge Debelius turned his attention to status. McCool explained that the Medical Examiner’s report, which apparently has been delayed for some time, continues to be delayed. Although the Medical Examiner’s office provided little firm information about the cause of the delay, they have indicated that it has to do with a delay in input from consultants. McCool indicated further that he has gone so far as to work with the Attorney General’s office to resolve the delay, but they themselves have said no more than “when we get it, you’ll get it.”
Prosecutor Koch confirmed that they have received similar information indicating that the delay is due to pending consultant results, including pathological slides, etc.
Judge Debelius observed that the trial’s start date of March 17th could be in jeopardy if the Medical Examiner’s results are not provided soon. He scheduled a show cause hearing for December 22nd and another status hearing for January 16th at 1:30 pm. Earlier in the proceedings, Judge Debelius reverted to another hearing on December 27th, which may now be canceled in light of the new schedule. The case search detail should make that clear soon.
Brian Patrick O’Callaghan appeared in prison clothes, dark green over a long-sleeved white tee shirt. He made no eye contact with anyone in the courtroom save his attorneys. He struck me as reserved, blank even; I suppose in such a situation this is how someone would be expected to behave. He was escorted in, sat and stood when told, and was escorted out.
Unless I didn’t recognize her in the audience, his wife was not there.
As I was putting on my coat and locating my keys in the courtroom lobby, I heard the attorneys for the defense and prosecution both confirm that they had received the same information from the Medical Examiner about the delays in completing their report. I don’t know what the delay signifies, but it’s pretty clear that it’s not a fabrication of any sort.
I also heard McCool tell the prosecutors that O’Callaghan sees his son twice a week. Apart from that comment, no one spoke about Brian Patrick O’Callaghan at all today.
No one spoke about Kim Hyunsu, either. I wondered, as I tried to keep up with legalese in a courtroom with poor acoustics, who will speak for him in this trial, really take his death to heart and fight for justice for him. Perhaps because this was a procedural event, it wasn’t where there would be any discussion of the victim or the evidence. It was brief and pedantic, focused on motions and hearings and upcoming dates.
I therefore left the courtroom ill at ease, mostly because of the news of the delayed Medical Examiner’s report, but also because of the hearing's generally dry tone.
Until the system proves me wrong, though, I will continue to believe that #JusticeforHyunsu will be done.