One step closer to #JusticeforHyunsu

Brian O'Callaghan, the Maryland man accused of murdering the little 3-year-old Korean boy he and his wife had adopted barely three months earlier, pleaded guilty today in Maryland Circuit Court in to first degree child abuse resulting in death. O'Callaghan's plea brings little Hyunsu Kim (known in the media as Madoc Hyunsu O'Callaghan) one step closer to the justice his short, sad life deserves.

O'Callaghan appeared subdued in the Rockville, Maryland, courtroom. His wife, Jennifer O'Callaghan, was present. Judge John W. Debelius opened the proceedings by reading the plea and validating the defendant's understanding of the implications of this decision to his right to trial and appeal. Brian O'Callaghan responded to all questions in a quiet voice. When asked if he had been under the influence of drugs when making his decision, he indicated that he had taken drugs for the mental health issues from which he suffered, but that they had not impaired his ability to make this plea.

Also in the courtroom: Maryland Assistant State's Attorneys Donna S. Fenton and Sherri D. Koch; defense attorneys Steven J. McCool and Julia M. Fisher; the detectives who investigated the case; NBC 4 reporter Mark Segraves, Washington Post reporting Dan Morse, Washington Correspondent Jemin Son of the Kyunghyang Shinmun and supporters of the O'Callaghans.

Assistant State's Attorney Sherri D. Koch reviewed case details. Hyunsu was adopted by the O'Callaghans in October 2013. Brian O'Callaghan's wife, Jennifer O'Callaghan, took parental leave first, returning to work in January 2014 and leaving Hyunsu in her husband's care while he took leave. Jennifer O'Callaghan's work took her out of town on January 31st, at which time Hyunsu was in good health. The next day he was in the emergency room of a suburban Maryland hospital, hypothermic and in cardiac arrest. His injuries were so severe that he was airlifted to Children's Hospital Center in Washington, DC, where he died on February 3rd.

Responding for Brian O'Callaghan, defense attorney Steven J. McCool said that his client was remorseful and ashamed, and confirmed for the court that the defendant understood that the plea carried a statutory limit of 40 years imprisonment. The plea was then accepted.

The sentencing hearing was ultimately scheduled for 1:30 PM on April 15, 2016 in Maryland Circuit Court in Rockville. Brian O'Callaghan will be held without bond until then.

In determining the date for sentencing, defense attorney McCool noted that his team needed a considerable amount of time to investigate Brian O'Callaghan's mental health issues. It is, of course, unbelievable that this is coming out now, as a means of lessening his sentence, rather than during the O'Callaghan's homestudy. Had it been detected or taken seriously then (wherever the failure may lie), Hyunsu might be alive today. Hyunsu's death is an adoption issue. Diminishing it in defense of adoption is an insult to his memory, and to the memories of every adoptee who has suffered at the hands of an adopter.

#JusticeforHyunsu

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