A Southern California woman convicted of conspiring to kill her identical twin sister in the 1990s has been recommended for parole after spending nearly two decades in prison, according to a report published Tuesday.
In a case that made international headlines, Jeen "Gina" Han -- dubbed the "evil twin" by police -- was sentenced to 26 years to life in May 1998.
Han and two others were found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, burglary and false imprisonment. Prosecutors said the trio conspired in a failed plan to murder Sunny Han, who was bound and gagged along with her roommate before police rescued them.
The Korean-born twins were co-valedictorians at their San Diego County high school, were once close but had a history of fighting, authorities have said. Their relationship deteriorated after Sunny Han accused her sister of stealing her BMW.
The state Board of Parole recommended the release of Gina Han, now 43, after a hearing on Oct. 31, the Orange County Register reported.
Under California law, the decision includes a 120-day review period so Gov. Jerry Brown can decide whether to approve or reject the parole recommendation.
The Orange County District Attorney's Office in a letter Monday asked Brown to reject the parole recommendation, saying that Gina Han failed to address her alleged mental disorder and still poses a risk to society. Prosecutors said the crime was planned over several weeks, during which Han attempted to recruit accomplices in an "elaborate scheme to get revenge on Sunny Han for pressing criminal charges against her."
Deputy District Attorney Nikki Chambers said Gina Han, as an example of her plans for parole, gave the board letters from a man with whom she is corresponding. Her pen pals from abroad and across the country have offered her money, jobs and lodging, including a man from Britain who gave her money after corresponding for a year, the prosecutor said.
"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 wrote.
Gina Han maintained she never intended to kill her sister.