BEIRUT: Mount Lebanon Investigative Judge Rami Abdallah recommended the death penalty for Filipina Jinalyn Jong Ko for the murder of her employer, Natalie Salban. Ko was allegedly envious of Salban and coveted her husband, with whom she was having an affair. The indictment, released by Abdallah, revealed that Ko had been employed as a domestic worker at the home of Aziz Farhat and Natalie Salban for five years. In 2013 she left for a vacation in the Philippines, but returned the same year.
After her return, as Salban was pregnant with her second child, Ko and Farhat began an affair. The relationship intensified Ko’s resentment of Salban, who Farhat testified had a sharp temper and treated Ko somewhat unkindly.
On the morning of Dec. 3, 2015, the accumulation of harsh treatment and jealousy exploded in an act of murder. Ko awoke at 5:30 a.m. and prepared coffee for Farhat, whom she was desperately trying to hold on to. He left at 7 a.m. to drop off his younger daughter at kindergarten.
As Salban was getting ready to leave for work with her 5-year-old daughter Tia, she asked Ko to bring her some clothes and a handbag in an elevated tone, leading to an angry verbal exchange.
Ko then placed Tia in the bathroom so the child would not see what happened next. She headed to the kitchen, brought a glass vase, and smashed it on Salban’s head. As Salban dropped to the floor, covered in blood, Ko continued to beat her hysterically on the head with dumbbells. Death was near instantaneous.
Ko then let Tia out of the bathroom, hands covered in blood, and called Farhat to tell him what she had done and asking him to bring the police. When Farhat arrived he began beating and slapping Ko, screaming, “Why, why?” until neighbors separated the two.
Ko admitted to the murder, citing her love for Farhat and Salban’s harsh treatment. Farhat admitted to sleeping with the domestic worker, but claimed it was just a fleeting affair. He said his wife did not suspect the affair, and that she was only short-tempered, which he tolerated.
But the parents of the victim said the couple had no marital problems and had a stable and happy family.