A 41-year-old San Juan Capistrano executive’s voice cracked as he testified Wednesday that he killed his business partner in a fight, disposed of the body and then masqueraded as the victim in email exchanges with his family.

Ed Younghoon Shin testified he grew irritated as his business partner 32-year-old Christopher Ryan Smith kept “badgering” him about paying a legal settlement with the money “coming out of (Shin’s) end.”

Shin testified he was unaware of Smith’s concerns that Shin would embezzle from their company. The conflict between the two came to a head when Shin said he had the “effing truth” of Smith helping him in an embezzlement of Shin’s prior employer.

“I said I have the effing truth… that I could prove he was part of the embezzlement,” Shin testified.

Shin claims he wired $33,000 to Smith in October 2008.

Shin claims the two got into a fistfight in Smith’s office that got out of hand and then disposed of the body.

Jurors, who will hear closing arguments on Thursday, are expected to consider a range of charges from murder to manslaughter.

“Did you ever plan to kill Chris Smith,” Shin’s attorney Ed Welbourn asked his client.


“Did you ever plan for any of this to happen?”

“No,” Shin replied.

“Did you want him to die?”

“No,” the defendant replied.

Asked why he continued to deny killing Smith when he was arrested, he said, “At that point I was in too deep. I couldn’t change the story at that point.”

Shin carried on email exchanges pretending to be Smith while corresponding with the victim’s girlfriend and family.

“I knew there had to be an end,” Shin testified. “But I just couldn’t do it. That’s why I just cut off the emails.”

Shin claimed he never really had any plan.

“It was a day-by-day thing,” he testified. “There was no real planning.”

Shin said he was “sorry for what happened,” as he grew emotional. “It was an awful thing to do. I caused a lot of people a lot of pain.”

Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy asked Shin if he was “tearing up” when he wrote the emails to the victim’s family. Murphy also asked Shin that if he felt so badly about what happened why did he send a “break-up” email to the victim’s girlfriend when he could have let her down more easily.

“I don’t know,” Shin said.

“You started feeling bad because you got caught,” Murphy said.

“No,” Shin replied.

Murphy also asked Shin why he didn’t just call 911 after the fight in the hopes the victim could still be saved.

“I was in shock,” Shin testified.

“You didn’t call 911 because if he died you could get his money,” Murphy said.

“No,” Shin replied.

Shin racked up gambling debts in Las Vegas and was fending off allegations of taking $700,000 to $900,000 from his previous employer when he killed Smith in June 2010, Murphy said in his opening statement.

The two met while working in the advertising leads industry in Orange County and enjoyed great financial success together.

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