(CN) – After 20 years in state prison, a California woman convicted of scheming to kill her twin sister was granted parole last month by Governor Jerry Brown, much to the dismay of a local district attorney’s office that called the woman a “manipulative and dangerous individual.”
“The Board of Parole Hearings must conclude that an inmate no longer poses a threat to public safety when finding him or her suitable for parole,” said California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman Luis Patino in an email. “The courts have ruled that, absent evidence of current dangerousness, an inmate should be released when he or she is eligible for parole consideration.”
Jeen “Gina” Han, now 44, plotted to murder her identical twin sister when her twin accused her of stealing a car, according to law enforcement. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office reports that she enlisted the help of two male accomplices in her murder plot.
All three were found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, burglary and false imprisonment in 1998. The judge sentenced Gina Han to 26 years to life in prison, but on Wednesday the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced she was released on May 24, 2018.
At one point police called Gina Han the “evil twin” in contrast to her sister, Sunny Han.
Originally from San Diego County, the twins were co-valedictorians in high school, but had a falling out over a car, according to law enforcement.
The Korean-born sisters had a history of fighting, but Gina Han spent time in jail after stealing from an aunt and uncle, and then stole from her sister. According to police, Sunny Han pressed criminal charges against her sister for stealing her BMW and her wallet.
Gina wanted revenge and plotted how to kill her sister for several weeks, according to a letter from Orange County Deputy District Attorney Nikki Chambers, who asked Brown to overturn the Parole Board’s recommendation to release Gina.
The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in an email that the governor’s office had 30 days to take action on the recommendation, but it did nothing.
The murder plot failed and ended with police saving Sunny Han and her roommate, who were bound and gagged in their Irvine, California apartment. After the failed murder plot they found a receipt that showed Gina bought two pairs of gloves, poly twine and duct tape.
According to law enforcement, Gina waited in a car outside on Nov. 6, 1996 while her accomplices, Archie Bryant and John Sayarath, posed as magazine salesmen to get into the apartment. They rushed in when Sunny’s roommate, Helen Kim, opened the door, according to police records.
The men held Kim at gunpoint, pushed her to the ground and tied her up. They covered her mouth with duct tape and placed her into a bathtub. Meanwhile, Sunny called 911 and said she thought burglars were in their apartment raping her roommate.
She told police she heard Kim say, “Please don’t hurt me, take anything you want.”
Kim got free, but Sayarath pulled her back into the apartment before she could get to the door and tied her up again, according to police records.
The men also tied up Sunny Han and placed her into the bathtub. Police records say Sunny heard one of the men curse and say the police were there. Bryant ran back into the bathroom and began to untie the women.
He told the women to tell police that the whole incident was a joke, according to police reports.
Both accomplices got away with Gina Han, but law enforcement eventually caught up with them. Bryant and Sayarath blamed Gina for the incident.
When questioned by police, Sayarath said Gina told them what to do when they arrived at the apartment, which included instructions to come get her when they had tied up Sunny so she could be the one to murder her.
Police say they were aware that Gina asked for help in her murder plot. When police arrested her near a car rental facility, Gina presented officers with her sister’s identification and the receipt for all the items used in the failed murder plot.
Sunny cooperated with police and said her sister had a serious gambling problem.
Chambers called Gina Han’s actions heinous and wrote in her letter in opposition to parole that she had not addressed her personality disorder.
“At the parole hearing, Gina Han, at first blush, appeared to have attempted introspection; however she is very intelligent and manipulative,” wrote Chambers.
Several pen pals offered her money, lodging and jobs, according to Chambers, including a man from England who gave her $100,000 after writing to her for a year.
In a statement, Rackauckas called Gina Han a career criminal who poses a serious safety risk. “Jeen ‘Gina’ Han is a manipulative and dangerous individual who hatched an elaborate plan to have her own twin sister murdered,” he said.