By David Schuman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — An Edina woman is bracing for the start of her daughter’s murder trial and all the difficult emotions that come with it.

Lisa Orfield hasn’t been able to clean out the room of her daughter, Madeline Kim, since Madeline’s death in 2018.

She keeps pictures up in the house and takes care of Madeline’s dog.

On Monday, the trial starts for the man accused of killing her, Sunkeun Kim, who was Madeline’s husband.

“It is truly a mother’s worst nightmare and now having to relive all that and testify, as a mom, it’s like opening that wound,” Orfield said. “That bandage is coming off, and you remember the pain and the hurt.”

Madeline, a graduate of Faribault High School, was 27.

The couple was living near Milwaukee in what Orfield says was an abusive relationship that Madeline kept returning to.

“[Victims of abuse] just want to be accepted, they want to be loved,” Orfield said. “It’s a vicious cycle. It was very difficult to see. Visiting here, she had black eyes and bruises. I confronted her finally and said, ‘you need to get help, you need to get away.'”

Madeline had filed for divorce, and Orfield says her daughter had plans to move back to Minnesota ten days after she died.

Kim will now stand trial in Wisconsin for first-degree intentional homicide and strangulation, among other charges.

Police say he told caseworkers, “I need you to tell my attorney I did the homicide.”

“You try to find the strength that you have,” Orfield said. “You can either go to the dark place of grieving or be her voice and her advocate. That’s what I intend on doing. I know that’s what she’d want. She was a staff sergeant for the military, and she had this strength.”

Orfield leaves Sunday for the scheduled three-week trial.

She says a conviction would create some peace for her.

“There’s nothing you can be afraid of anymore because the worst thing happened,” Orfield said.

Kim’s attorney, Julius Kim, declined to comment on the case.

David Schuman

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