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Iowa professor charged in gagging death released from jail

ADEL, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa college professor accused of murder in the gagging death of her husband has been released from jail because of concerns about the coronavirus.

Dallas County Judge Michael Jacobsen had earlier refused to lower the $5 million bond set for Gowun Park, but on Monday he agreed to reduce it to $285,000, according to the Des Moines Register. She posted the bond and was released Thursday.

Park’s lawyers had argued her bond should be lowered because the coronavirus pandemic risked her health and a ban on in-person visits at the jail hindered their ability to coordinate her defense. The Iowa Supreme Court has postponed most criminal trials and encouraged judges to consider pretrial release options.

Park, 41, was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping Feb. 19 in the death of her husband, Sung Nam, 41. He was found unconscious in the couple’s West Des Moines home and was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Police allege Park used zip ties and rope to bind Nam to a chair, then jammed clothing into his mouth before finally using duct tape to attach a towel over his head.

Park was an assistant professor of economics at Simpson College, a private liberal arts college based in Indianola.

While released, Park must wear a GPS monitoring device and can only travel for specific reasons, including to get food, fuel and medical supplies and to meet with her lawyers.

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