tv The House of Suh MSNBC July 17, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
i was terrified that day. that was probably the longest day of my life. each moment when i was in that garage, i rehashed everything. my mother, my father, my sister. i looked up and there was a mirror there. the mirror was broke and there was glass shard. i saw my reflection. i'm dressed in black, i'm going do something crazy right now and i said, what am i doing here. this isn't you.
my childhood was focused on the family unit, nothing really mattered. it wasn't a standard child but to me it was what i thought was right. i would wake up in the morning, go to school. after school, take an hour bus ride, start work at my parents station and work the counter, cleaning up, stacking the shelves until 8:00 at night. drive with my mother all the way home. eat dinner, do homework, go to sleep and start the cycle all over again. it was my duty, my obligation to family because that is what is son does. interpret interpret in korea, jokgo is an interesting and much talked about topic and it is regarded as very important. >> in andrew's case, he's the
only son. he has to carry on the suh's family name sew is very important. and when a woman gets married, she becomes part of another family. so sometimes the daughter can be removed from her birth family lineage. >> catherine was more or less ostracized because she was the girl and they focused most of their attention on me. i think catherine almost always recent resented that because she almost chose to rebel. if mom or dad wanted something done by i did it without question but catherine would say, i'm going to question it. i will ask why. catherine is my farj reincar nate. that's why me butted heads because they did what they want to do. he made it clear he did not like letter her. he beat her consistently.
he was old school korean and he would say in my house you will abide pli my rules and catherine the rebellious teen said, no i'm not. my father was on the phone one day, a latino guy talking and where is your daughter. and my father lost it. he said, what are you doing? you come to america and become a whore. he was arguing with my sister and slapping her around. catherine had a moment i guess of bravery and she reached across my father and scratched his chest like this. my father had his t-shirt ripped and he was bleeding across list chest. my father saw the blood and he lost it. he lost it. he grabbed her, he grabbed the a jug of gasoline and just doused both of them. he reached into his pocket. he was trying to flick the lighter, get the flint going. and he said, let's die together. and my mom, she heard all of
commotion and ran back an grabbed them. pulled the lighter out of his hand. he said, what have we done. this is not our daughter. my sifter is sobbing and crying. my father had blood on his chest. i guess that really sealed the deal between my father and sister about the complete separation, where you actually spilled my father's blood. your father's blood. you don't do that to your parents. instead of accepting and saying i'm sorry, she said i'm right. she challenged my father. my father did not like that. my father and my mother basically had given up on her. said, we can't control her. let her do what she wants to do. once she hits 18 she will be married off and she will be fine. she will not be part of the house. she is not a suh 37. >> in a loving family, i wonder if catherine would have become what she is now.
but i think catherine still has conflicts inside of her. she hadn't resolved them yet. she needed to project them somehow. i think she pro jeked it towards her younger brother. her younger brother or maybe odubaine. >> catherine suh faces a life sentence for murdering her former fiance, robert odubaine. >> the details seem to just get worse. suh's brother andrew says suh hired him to kill her chicago boyfriend after claiming the boyfriend was beating her up. >> you're looking at a woman who killed her own boyfriend. catherine suh was convicted of the crime in chicago last september but she got away. >> she was able to convince her brother to do pretty much anything she told him do. >> catherine suh's fiance was shot to death outside his garage
in chicago. she set him up, calling to say she needed help with her car. >> robert was shot by suh's brother, andrew and the jury believed that catherine suh made him do it. >> deep down inside, i wonder how other people would respond. how other people would react. am i alone in this? am i wrong? completely unjustified? i just want to know what you would have done. because that's been my question for so long. what would you do?
amongst our family members there was never any suspicion of cathy during early weeks of my brother's murder. she was a victim just like my brother, meaning that she had lost somebody she loved, somebody she planned on spending her life with. >> andrew's written confession was at least a ten-page written statement that included many of the details of the crime that only andrew suh, only the killer, would know. it was a critical piece of evidence in the state's case against him. >> when you kill someone, spontaneously out of maybe a burst of rage, or anger or
passion of some sort, there is at least in this country, some sort of -- some sort of believe that that makes the crime less heinous than if you had time to contemplate what you were doing and did it anyway. and in our case, unfortunately, andrew flew home, and sat in a cold dark garage for over four hours waiting for robert owe o'dubaine so andrew could then kill him. >> my father got a call from the grand avenue detectives that they were starting to think that cathy had some sort of involvement in my brother's murder. i had never been so surprise. i had no idea. i had no idea that this -- that cathy is involved in rob's death? it just -- it was baffling. it was a shock to us. to us as a family. >> at the time the media
reported that catherine was not so obedient, that's what they would say. but i'm not sure about that. i wasn't there so i don't know. but the media would report that andrew was the son. when his father was sick, andrew would tend to him for a long time and was obedient and good. >> the doctors cut him open and said the cancer spread everywhere. it covered his entire stomach. it was only a matter of time. it was not a good thing. catherine was nowhere to be found. catherine was at home doing her thing. i mean, my mom focused everything on my father. and i focused on everything on it. and that's where like the close to a month vigil happened at the hospital. and i remember sleeping there
over and over again after that. but it was something i needed to do. like i said, you don't ask questions about stuff like that. you just do it because you know -- it's your father. you don't ask. you just do it. my sister was nowhere to be seen that day. i believe she came towards the end of the day around 7 or 8, and my father passed away around 10:00 that night. she came in, she looked at him. she said okay. she left. and in rhett spretrospect was s happy that he died? probably. with his death, the one factor that held my sister down was over with. she was free from her captor, i guess. after my father died, my mom was unemployed. she needed employment.
>> m america she has to take the pharmacy test again, right? but because she wasn't able to pass the pharmacy test, she ran the dry cleaners. >> mom worked there six days aweek. i was there six days a week. on you sunday what do you do? we shopped for the house grocery. after that we would visit my father at the cemetery. it was a dark time for her. as my father passed away, she relied on me so much. >> andrew's mom was under a lost stress at the time. with cathy, that's probably when the troubles are starting up, i think. >> she came home when she wanted to. barely graduated from high school. she was literally going out four and five times a week. somehow she met robert along
this process. >> cathy and rob work met at health club. rob was a manager. she was trainer. they started dating. when had a very formal relationship. he was charismatic, fun, everyone looked up to him. we just all wanted to be around him. we never felt we had enough time. i always thought later on when things would settle down, when we had families or life wasn't traveling so fast, i really would relish when i could settle down and spend more time with rob and it wasn't such a rush-rush world. unfortunately that didn't happen. i had a heart problem.
i was told to begin my aspirin regimen. i just didn't listen until i almost lost my life. my doctor's again ordered me to take aspirin. and i do. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. [ mike ] listen to the doctor. take it seriously. >> ( rooster crows ) >> by 2020, 50 billion network devices will roam the earth. that's seven devices per person. this will change how we work in ways we've never before imagined. what do you need to secure your people, their devices, and your business? a network that can evolve and grow to protect your human network.
i was kneeling down saying, mom, stop crying. stop crying. trying to console her. for some odd reason she asked me this hypothetical situation. she is like, one day, many years from now, you are on a mountain side and you have your wife, new born son and me. there is fire and you can only take one person with you. there is your wife, your son and me your mother. i'm 11 years old. so i'm thinking, trying to rationalize, my initial response was take my life, and everybody else can leave. she is like, no, you have to choose. so i said, mom, i rationalize it to myself, she led a long life. because we have no male heils, i said, mom, i'm sorry but i will take my wife and my son. she is like, no matter what, because you are a man throughout the course of your life, you will have the opportunity to have as many women as you want. you can have as many kids as you
want. through bu throughout your entire life you will only have one mother. >> police say around mid morning they received a tip something was wrong at campus cleaners. >> discovered the body in the back of the store. >> it was the first day of eighth grade. i saw police cars in front of the house. walk in. my sister was sobbing and robert was holding her. i was like, what's going on? robert just started dating my sister. he was still an outsider in the family. i saw him come in. he came up to me. he sat on the stair well and said i have to talk to you. he said, something happened. your mom's been in an accident. she won't be coming back. and it didn't register upon me. it was -- it's anger. almost disbelief. i remember, i pulled way from him. i said, let go of me.
i ran outside. i couldn't comprehend what just happened. to see her go like that without saying good-bye. >> police say elizabeth suh had been repeatedly stabbed. the 55-year-old woman was found in the back portion of her dry cleaning shop pt detectives are cleaning and bagging clues. police suspect robbery is motive. elizabeth suh's wallet is missing. police say during rush hour tonight and tomorrow morning they will question passer-byes an ask them if they heard or saw anything along the street that could help them solve the murder. >> i went into shock, numbness. then as days progressed, i went into anger. after the investigation started with my mom's death, i said why haven't we done anything about this. robert said the fact that, well the cops are idiots. he will never find out who did this. you have to move on. but my sister chimed in shortly thereafter and said, that's true, they won't figure this out.
i'm 13 years old. my father abandoned me. my mother left me. i hated my life. i hated god. i hated my sister. my opinions no longer mattered in how the house was run because catherine was in charge now. catherine was my guardian. there was one drawn out physical fight i had with my sister where it jessica lated into an explosion. i said within you're nobody to me. i told her that. i'm still here. i'm head of the household. she said no you're not. i'm head of the house. you're the kid. she started hitting me. i remember grabbing her and holding her and she bit into my ribs and i let her go. i said what's wrong with you. i wanted to hit her but i couldn't. she's my sister. first and foremost she is a woman so i wouldn't lay i lay a hand on her. i punched my hand through the
glass window. my hand started bleeding. she said, get out of my house. i remember running away that night. somehow i made it to peterson park. snow flakes were falling down. i'm like whab do you do? either accept her as my guardian g or go to foster care, i guess. that was my other choice. i came home and i walked in. or she opened the door. and we had a talk. she's like, she had calmed down too. she's like, i love you. you're all i have left too. i told her whab are we going do? she told me, be a kid. there was a legal of apprehension of what of letting go, doing what i knew pi parents would want me to do. i let everything out. i didn't have to worry about where the next rent payment would be. i didn't have to worry about who would cook dinner. i didn't have to worry about
taking care of the house. i could go to school, have fun with friends. i could actually live a life as a child again. and, for moments like that, i really love my sister. i guess it was almost transferens. at one time it was always my father. as i focus on my father, making him happy. after my father passed way, i moved to my mother to do everything to make her happy. after her passing, there was a void there and catherine was there to fill it. e. you give us your information once, online... [ whirring and beeping ] [ ding! ] and we give you a discount on both. sort of like two in one. how did you guys think of that? it just came to us. what? bundling and saving made easy. now, that's progressive. call or click today.
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before an investigation of the phone hacking scandal. how back to our program. my mother was murdered, that night, robert came in, stayed with catherine. and then, he never left. everything in my mother's room was evacuated. my mother's body wasn't even cold yet before they actually went through everything and moved it out. in the beginning, i was angry with them. for taking control of things like that. but a as time past, what i saw him doing for my sister, supporting her when she needed it most. he was there for her. he was there for my sister after my mom's death.
>> my earliest recollection of andrew is coming over christmas morning and opening up presents with us. he was definitely not your normal dynamics faxly that you would see but they were doing pretty well with that. >> as the years went on, he was family. because he was part of the inner circle. we shared meals together. he taught me thousand drive a stick shift. he was my male role model. >> rob went through phases in his life. rob would recreate himself. during his early years all the way through when he met cathy -- >> catherine had a very specific idea of what robert should be or who he should be. and she cleaned him up. she bought him thousand-dollar suites. >> she wanted the riches that other people had, but he didn't have a college degree. >> put him in a mercedes to make
him fit the part she wanted him to be. >> he was with the hard worker but with the death of cathy's mother, money started coming in through her mother's estate. they bought what they called the club metropolis and things happened quickly. that was the business suit era, the last era of his life. >> he said, you know what? i will be a new person. catherine reinvented him and he took it and ran with him. and same with me. she molded me into what i had become. my identity is the one catherine made for me. she said you will do go to the academy, you will to football, you will become popular, you will graduate, you will get a good job. there is the american dream. >> at loyola, there weren't that many koreans. in my class there were five of us. just to give you an example, out
of five, i think four of us were in the math club. an andy was playing football. he was like them, basically. he looked like me. i mean, he didn't look exactly like me, but he was korean. he came from an immigrant family. yet he was a leader in this school that i felt like i was such an outsider in. he was really a star. at that high school. andy was very striking person. he was the type of person that you would remember if you met him back then. and something so tragic happened. i think people with a lost painful things that are going on in their livers, sometimes really come up with a good front.
and i think he channelled a lot of his energy, a lot of his pain, into becoming that person and i think he was very good at it. >> no. you don't talk about stuff like that. and i add facade i had to maintain at school. i guess i was a lonely popular kid. everybody said i had the perfect life. but i had nobody to talk to. how do you bring up a topic with someone you barely flow? oh, yeah, my mom was murdered and i have issues. you don't talk about stuff like that. you harbor them inside. you drink a beer, you shut up. you let the time pass. that's how -- that's how you deal with it. or that's how i was taught to deal with things. >> the older sister was, you could say, different a relationship with your average
older sister. she played the roles of both the mother and father. >> there weren't parents in the household so rob, a little more mature, than cathy, he became more after father figure. rob and cathy's relationship changed a bit when she started getting into all these different business ventures. at one point they were engaged. but had it was more after business relationship. they both wanted to be successful. they both strived to get the most out of life and their house showed that. >> catherine was pouring in money hand over fist. she imported cabinets from europe. she bought all high-end fixtures. everything new. >> but it lacked the warmth, the family feeling that the mother's house had. so you can almost feel the change in their relationship. my brother, rob, was my best man at my wedding.
cathy wasn't there at my wedding. and she would have been, so i knew something was wrong. i knew there was some fight that they had. my brother seemed affected by it. but he put up a good front. he put up a good show. and gave me a toast. he was my best man. watched everybody dance. you know, we got good times in. but i had no idea that july 16th was the last time i would see my brother alive. >> the story began with the relationship between catherine suh and her boyfriend, robert o'dubaine. that relationship broke down. there was an argument that two had and there was a business relationship between them that gradually deteriorated over time. she thought that the victim was taking money from the business and using that money to gamble.
catherine enlisted the aid of her brother, andrew suh, who was a student at providence college in rhode island to fly into chicago in order to commit this murder. catherine later 07b that evening, made a phone call to robert o'dubaine and told robert o'dubaine that her car had broken down in lincoln park and she needed him to come down and pick her up. this was all a fabrication but it was a rouse to get him to come into the garage. he did so. when he walked into the garage, andrew suh shot robert o'dubaine two times. once in the back of the neck and then a second time in his face. to make sure that he was dead 7 37. >> later on we find out that her possible motive that she had was it cash in my brother's $250,000 life insurance policy. all of a sudden it wasn't rob the victim in the garage, it was planned murder.
when cathy was charged with the murder of my brother, she was out on bond. but she today gro to all of the hearings that they had. ai was sitting in the courtroom and from behind in the aisle i feel this hand on me. i look around and it is cathy suh, the person who had my brother murdered. and she pleads with me, kevin you know it, you know i couldn't do this. you know i'm innocent. i looked back at her and the only thing i could think of to say was, what about andrew? your brother confessed to the crime already. it was -- to me it was a done subject. so after the hearings took place, it was time for the trial. and cathy's lawyers were stirring around and they looked upset. the problem was, they didn't know where cathy was. and the trial has to go on no matter what. a few of the jury members
actually came up to us and i wanted to ask, what was it in your mind that made her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt because a lot of evidence was circumstantial against cathy. the jurors said the one thing we had going for us is that we looked out that chair and it was empty. we don't believe a guilty person would flee and not want to represent themselves in trial. >> she was on a paradise island thousands of. >> catherine was convicted. >> catherine suh was alias kasha kane. >> she thought if she took off and escaped, that's the way it survive. >> catherine suh fled to hawaii thinking 2 was a place where she
would blend in and she did, spending more than six months in honolulu as a fugitive. today she turned herself in. >> i will turn myself in because i'm not guilty. >> a petite catherine suh in casual clothing and no make-up a arrested in honolulu last friday. that's how catherine suh boarded a plane last night, finally extradited to chicago where she facees a life sentence for murdering her former fiance wab robert o'dubaine. robert o'dubaine. robert o'dubaine. , robert o'dubaine.
i walked outside and saw robert drinking. he went into this tirade as, you don't know about my life. i made all these mistakes. maybe h le l won't be so bad. i said, you're drunk. go inside. he said, it's your sister's he fault. after everything i did. she is cheating on me. she a a whore. the only reason she stays with me is because i know her secrets and she knows my secrets. i said, you're part of the family. he said, you know nothing about family. he said, you and i are nothing more than a meal ticket. then i'm getting pissed. i said, screw you. then i left. about a week later, i get a call. i rip the door open, you run in. i see catherine pop her head
out. i said where is this guy. out of the corner of my eye, i see robert. i see robert, he is holding his gun. he add 44 magnum gun. he is like, there is my house. i do what i want. you think you're tough? i'll show you tough. i'm like, what's wrong with this guy? my sister came flying down the stair well. she jumps in between us. she's like, leave it alone, leave it alone, leave it alone. i said, you're nobody. all this that you think is yours, this belongs to me. this is my house. i had a disconnect. i didn't care. it was over with. i got off the airplane. i landed under chicago. and kather catherine picked me up. we drove into the house in herm tij. it was pouring rain.
it was dark. she shoved a brown paper bag in my hand. she left me. there was a gun. i was going through the memories of catherine. the last memory i had was of catherine tell meg this story about my mom. we were at a restaurant, a japanese restaurant. i was leaving for college in a matter of weeks. and that point, she looked at me and she is quiet and you see almost a calm in her face where she wasn't herself. and she's like, i have to tell you something. >> here is an interesting fact. all of andrew's parents' money, and it was a significant amount of money back then, goes to the son. catherine didn't really get anything. but what she got was control of andrew. >> before mom died, after robert got fired, we add long conversation about money. she said, robert and i, i was talking to robert,
half-heartedly about how everything will be fine once my mom passed away. shortly thereafter, my mother came up dead. she said, i didn't ask limb do it, but he did it. >> they knew andrew would basically inherit everything. catherine would become the admin stritor of his trust and in fact, it proved true. she could then manipulate the money and spend it as if it were her own, which is what she did. >> i got up and ran out. i'm sitting 07b a concrete barrier in the middle of the restaurant parking lot. that point, i was a little kid again, 13 years old, sitting there, finding out my mom just got murdered for the first time. it was just an overwhelming sensation where i hated my sister. i hated robert. i hated everybody again. all this built up anger and frustration just came pouring over again. >> she worked and worked and worked on you know, how can you let this man walk the streets.
knowing that he murdered our mother. her mother was brutely murdered. someone sat on her chest and stabbed her repeatedly with a knife. this was not somebody walked in and shot her. this was, you talk about brutal and heinous murders. now imagine your sister telling you that she had figured out who had done this most horrible thing to your mother. and andrew said to her, let's just call the police. catherine said, oh, no, if we call the police -- >> they will call me an accomplice and we will both go to jail. because catherine was robert's alibi and robert was my sister's alibi. if he goes be i go. her words. she just looked at me and said, you have to get rid of him. you have to do it for mom. >> cathy's mother was stabbed 37 times in the face and neck. that's not a crime for a hundred dollars in the cash register. that's a crime of passion.
andrew's been with her through all this. you're going believe your sister when she starts talking about all this stuff. and you're going to say, family first, we need to protect our family. >> there's a pledgery of questions that went through my sister. how much of involvement did she save v under this crime. >> could cathy suh do this? yes. i think she could have done this. >> on my father's death bed i promised him i wouldn't let nothing happen to my mother. i even promised my mother before she passed away, i'll never let anything wrong happen. i'll always be there for you. and for me to fail was unacceptable. i couldn't accept that. it was my duty as a son, to right this wrong. i think i didn't have anybody to confide in. who do you tell this to? yeah, i found out who killed my mother. what do i do next? it's just -- there's nobody i
could turn to. it was my sister and that was it. >> it was as if cathy was the mafia. nobody walks way from me. nobody leaves me. you can't leave me. >> but she couldn't really just break up with him if he was blackmailing her. or saying, i'll tell what you did. you know, when somebody knows something like that, you're sort of bound to them for as long as they're alive. >> a week after my mother was murdered, i went to the back of the cleaners, with robert o'dubaine, and i cleaned up my mother's con jaeled puddle of blood on the tile floor. for me, that was a moment in my life that i really don't want to remember, but that was a part of my life that i remember the most of that night. i cleaned it up. and to think of robert o'dubaine
standing behind me, telling me, oh, just clean it up, this is how you do it. what kind of monster does that? what sick twisted man says, here this is what i did, here go clean it up. and up until that point, the man responsible for my mother's murder was always a blank face. my failures, what did i do wrong? now i saw robert's face there. i wanted to leave. but my sister's voice held me there. my vision of my mother laying in a pool of her own blood kept me there. my responsibility as a son to my father kept me there. a moment later, the light flicked on from the backyard. i remember walking in. he walked in. i just lifted the gun up and i pulled the trigger and it was over with. so i was the guy who was never going to have the heart attack.
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i just want to know what you would have done. because that's been my question for so long. what would you do? >> i don't think andrew deserves the death penalty. i think that the court had to a just verdict, a just sentence and i think he's paying for his crime right now. >> it's in the bible, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a life, look at hamlet. his father was murdered by his uncle. what did he do? he said i have to have vengeance for that.
however in our actual civilized so site, we are cred vej ill antes, we are then the cold-blooded killer. we try to kill the monster and in turn we become that monster. >> andrew was a young adult capable making his own decisions. his participation in this murder, although, he was certainly urged to do so by his sister, again he was a willing participant. and went along with there. >> i'm not saying i would have done what andrew did or that anybody would, but somehow a 19-year-old man, with an incredible sense of loyalty to his family was convinced that the only way it avenge his mother's death and to protect his sister, the only living relative he had, was to kill this man. >> cathy suh is in prison.
serving a sentence for a crime they were able to prove she committed. this crime of evidence at the dry cleaners will be an unsolved case. >> i believe with all my heart of all sincerity that he was responsible for this. he was the man responsible for slashing my mother 37 times. he was the man responsible for shattering my life. set man responsible for putting me in this place. but in the same breath, i say, who am i to decide that. on certain days i wake up and say, oh, my god, what have you done? what have you done? you took another person's lives. and i will always be a murderer. >> andrew was the last person to see my brother alive. . it's hard to get over. but i remember that 14-year-old boy that i knew and how he was
manipulated by his sister. he has to to go on and live his life knowing that his only family member left is the one that sent him there. >> i had a friend contact her, past a message along to her, and said i'm your brother, i'm always here for you. we can do this together. and a message came back to me says, don't ever contact me again. i don't know who you are. i don't have a brother. and just leave me alone. i'm always conflicted because she has my dna. we are brother and sister. it's never going to change. and despite whatever she's done in my life, there's always a good with the bad. when i was hurting, she was the