Kou Khang, 30, and Joane Khang, 25, had been married for nearly 13 years before both of their lives were ended on Tuesday, February 13, 2006 leaving behind two sons, 8-year-old Chan and 1-year-old Akito.
Police were called to 1192 Burr Street in St. Paul after the two bodies were found stabbed to death in the kitchen. According to police reports, Kou Khang killed his wife with a kitchen knife then stabbed himself in the chest.
According to Joane’s family members, the couple had been experiencing major disagreements since November 2005 and their relationship seemed to worsen as Kou became more controlling and insecure while Joane became more resistant to his behavior.
Things had gotten especially bad the Sunday before the incident when Kou allegedly got up early that morning determined to do something significant. He started by gathering Joane’s clothes and cutting them up and setting them on fire in the backyard.
He later approached Joane’s brother with a handshake and commented that, “This is the end for us. It’s really over.”
Shortly after their brief interaction, Kou continued to approach Joane’s other brother and demanded that he leave because the house belonged to him and Joane.
Eventually, bickering took place between Kou and Joane, which ultimately led to her calling the police for assistance. The officers arrived, but did not make any arrests because Kou left willingly and Joane was advised to file for a restraining order and to seek services for safety.
Joane’s sister-in-law, Sue, recalls an unsettling feeling that lingered Sunday night and Monday because even though Kou wasn’t there physically, he was constantly calling her to make amends. “I told her not to talk to him anymore because he just got really controlling and mean to her and he always had this thought in his mind that she was cheating on him,” she explained.
But the warning was shrugged off because he was back at the house on Tuesday to drop off diapers and apparently to pick up his W-2 forms.
“I don’t know if she let him in or if he went in himself. I did see the diapers and W-2 forms by their bodies, but she had just bought diapers the night before. Something went wrong that day,” continued Sue, “he always threatened that he was going to kill her. He even bought a silver knife and said he would use it on her.”
Joane’s death is St. Paul’s first homicide of the year. And although she is currently alone on that list, she is joining a list of more than 25 Asian women and children who were murdered within the last five years in cases where the suspected, alleged, or convicted perpetrator was a current or former husband, boyfriend, intimate partner, household member, or family member of the deceased.
“Joanne was a great person. She would always put her family first before any of her problems. She would ignore her problems… she was very dedicated, generous and kind,” said Sue, thinking back to her sister in law.
Kou Khang’s funeral will be held Sunday, February 19, 2006 at the Vue Family Funeral Home on Arcade (near Maryland Ave in St. Paul). Joane’s funeral will be held on February 26, 2006 at the same funeral home.