Father on death row receives life sentenceAn appellate court on Thursday reduced the sentence of a man charged with molesting and murdering a teenager from the death penalty to life imprisonment.
The case of Lee Young-hak shocked the nation after he confessed to choking a 14-year-old girl to death in his home last September after drugging and molesting her. In February, a lower court sentenced him to capital punishment. His daughter was given four years in prison for helping him disposed of the victim’s body.
The Seoul High Court retained the four-year sentence for the daughter but commuted her father’s sentence. The court agreed with the lower court’s ruling that the defendant needed to be permanently secluded from society but ruled that it was unfair to deprive him of the chance for repentance by putting him on death row.
Lee was already a public figure before the gruesome case. In the 2000s, he appeared on television to talk about a rare dental condition he had and his struggle to make a living for his daughter who had the same incurable disease.
He earned the nickname “Molar Daddy” after losing all but one molar while treating the disease.
Prosecutors had also indicted Lee for pimping his wife and forcing her to have sex with at least a dozen men. He also beat her and filmed her and the men on tapes, according to prosecutors. His wife took her own life in September 2017.
Lee faced fraud charges as well for raising 940 million won ($836,700) through a fund-raising campaign for his daughter’s treatment and spending the money on himself. It turned out that Lee had actually been living a luxurious life off government allowances and donations he received from those who took pity on him after seeing him on television.