Friday, Aug. 26, 2011

2. The Han Sisters

The story of the Han sisters boasts all the elements of a page-turner. The main characters are identical twins from South Korea who became high school co-valedictorians after moving to California's Orange County when they were 12. Sunny and Gina Han were close — until money troubles and the law got in the way. Sunny was jailed for taking a friend's credit card and going on a shopping spree, Gina reportedly stole $40,000 from family and friends, and Sunny pressed charges against her for burglary and grand theft. In 1996, when the twins were 22, Gina hatched what prosecutors alleged was a plot to kill Sunny. The attack, during which Sunny was tied up and forced to sit in a bathtub in an Irvine, Calif., apartment, made headlines around the world. A 911 call brought police to the scene, and they arrested Gina, who the day before had purchased garbage bags and Pine Sol, and her conspirators, two unrelated teenage boys, one of whom brandished a loaded gun during the attack. In 1998, Gina, whom police dubbed "the evil twin," was sentenced to 26 years to life in prison. During her sentencing, she sobbed in court, apologizing for her actions and saying tearfully: "Sunny is my flesh and blood." An appellate court upheld her conviction.