A Southern California woman who hatched a failed plot to kill her twin sister in 1996 — and was nicknamed the “evil twin” by Irvine police — has been granted parole after serving 19 years in prison, according to multiple reports.
On Nov. 20, 1997, Jeen “Gina” Han, 43, was convicted with two co-defendants of attacking her sister, Sunny Han, and her roommate at their apartment in Irvine, California, the previous year. The motive was a series of arguments that erupted after Sunny — nicknamed the “good twin” by police — accused Gina of stealing her credit cards and her BMW.
The three were found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, burglary and false imprisonment. Sunny, who was bound and gagged along with her roommate, was rescued by police.
In May 1998, Gina was sentenced to 26 years to life in prison. Gina is incarcerated at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, records show.
After a hearing on Oct. 31, the state Board of Parole recommended Gina’s release, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The recommendation includes a 120-day review period for California Gov. Jerry Brown to decide whether to approve or reject the board’s decision, the Associated Press reports.
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In a report for the parole board, a forensic psychologist said that while Gina has had a positive disciplinary history, she has “never participated in mental-health treatment” for her alleged “borderline personality disorder,” prosecutors said, the Orange County Register reports.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is fighting the parole board’s decision. On Monday, the district attorney’s office asked Brown to reject the parole recommendation, saying that Gina failed to address her alleged mental disorder and still poses a risk to society, the AP reports.
In the letter to Brown, Deputy District Attorney Nikki Chambers wrote, “At the parole hearing, Gina Han at first blush appeared to have attempted introspection; however, she is very intelligent and still manipulative,” the Orange County Register reports.
Chambers said Gina has been corresponding with men who have offered her money, jobs, and housing, the AP reports.
“The fact remains that she is still flexing the manipulation muscles that she used when she recruited two young men to murder her sister, and they appear to be as keen as they were in 1996,” Chambers said.
Love-Hate Relationship Between Sisters
Born in South Korea, the sisters later moved to Southern California. Though they graduated as co-valedictorians from their high school they were often at odds and had a love-hate relationship, police had said.
Prosecutors at the time said Gina asked Archie Bryant, then 16, and John Sayarath, then 15 – to kill her sister.
On Nov. 6, 1996, Gina waited in a car, while Bryant and Sayarath went up to Sunny’s apartment, posing as a magazine salesman. When Sunny’s roommate, Helen Kim, refused to let Bryant in, he pushed his way in with a gun and tied her up, prosecutors said. Sunny, who was in another room, called 911 just before she was bound and gagged and forced to squat in the bathtub with Kim.
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Police arrived within minutes and arrested Bryant, while Gina and Sayarath fled. Gina and Sayarath were arrested soon after when they tried to buy a car using Sunny’s credit card. Sunny “didn’t have a clue,” that her sister was involved in the plot, Lt. Tom Hume of the Irvine police said at the time. “When she was told by police, she was visibly shaken.”
Gina’s defense attorney, Roger Alexander, said she never meant to harm anyone and had only brought the teens with her as protection.
At the parole hearing, Gina “admitted to wanting to murder her sister, admitted to being the one who planned it, and directed the young men on how to accomplish her desire,” prosecutors said, according to the Register.
Calls to the district attorney were not immediately returned. It is unclear whether Gina Han has retained an attorney.