BLOOMINGTON – A 19-year-old Bloomington man who was convicted of attacking a 13-year-old girl with a knife at IU’s Jacob School of Music during a Strings Academy summer camp in 2019 is now being charged with conspiracy to commit murder after attempting to hire his cellmate to kill others associated with him being convicted of that crime.
Dongwook “Mikey” Ko, was 17 when he lured his female victim from the practice room in the Music Annex building to the fourth floor of Merrill Hall, where he stabbed her with a knife and attempted to strangle her. An employee heard the girl’s screams and intervened. She was beaten, strangled, and suffered more than a dozen wounds that required stitches.
Ko, was arrested on charges of attempted murder, aggravated battery, strangulation, kidnapping, and kidnapping armed with a deadly weapon.
He plead guilty to criminal confinement while armed with a deadly weapon in a negotiated plea deal. He was sentenced to serve eight years on home detention and two years on probation.
Ko is a citizen of South Korea but lived in the United States with his mother is in the country on a student visa at Indiana University.
But just days after Ko was sentenced, immigration agents picked Ko up at his mother’s Kensington Park home and took him into custody. Ko’s temporary U.S. residency visa was revoked. He was ordered deported and has been held on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention order at the Clay County Jail in Brazil, Indiana. He was awaiting deportation when he allegedly devised his murder plot.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Ko wanted his 39-year-old cellmate at the Clay County Jail, who he believed was a gang member, to torture, disable and kill 14 people who were responsible for him being convicted and being incarcerated. Included on the hit list were the victim’s parents, defense witnesses, two prosecutors, and a journalist who covered the case.
Ko allegedly offered to pay his cellmate $20,000 and also provided a map to the cellmate where the victim’s father lived and worked. He also allegedly told his cellmate he would arrange to post the cellmate’s $2,500 bail so he could carry out the murders. According to court records, Ko’s mother was depositing money into the cellmate’s commissary account at Ko’s request.
The cellmate, who was working with investigators, was able to record conversations with Ko about his murder plans. The cellmate also used an iPad to call his “uncle” who was going to help arrange the murders. The “uncle” was actually a Monroe County Sheriff’s Department detective. Ko allegedly told the “uncle” to start at the top of the list with the victim’s father and then work his way through the list in that order. According to investigators, Ko provided details on how each was to be murdered and how much each were to suffer.
Ko will now stay in Indiana to face these new charges and the Monroe County Prosecutor has filed a petition to revoke charge. If convicted on that charge Ko could face the eight years that were suspended on his original charge of criminal confinement.