Life sentence upheld for wife who goaded husband to jump into water

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Life sentence upheld for wife who goaded husband to jump into water

Lee Eun-hae, left, was sentenced to life imprisonment for drowning her husband to death in 2019 with the help of Cho Hyeon-soo, right. Cho was sentenced to 30 years in prison. [NEWS1]

Lee Eun-hae, left, was sentenced to life imprisonment for drowning her husband to death in 2019 with the help of Cho Hyeon-soo, right. Cho was sentenced to 30 years in prison. [NEWS1]

 
A court on Wednesday upheld a woman’s sentence to life imprisonment for killing her husband in 2019 to claim a life insurance payout. 
 
The Seoul High Court upheld the sentence of life imprisonment given to 32-year-old Lee Eun-hae for murder and attempted murder.
 
The court also upheld the lower court’s ruling of 30 years in prison for her accomplice, 31-year-old Cho Hyeon-soo. Lee had an affair with Cho.  
 
“The suspects are guilty as they have committed murder and attempted murder twice to claim a life insurance payout worth 800 million won ($598,000),” the court said.
 
“They have requested the money with no feelings of guilt, did not make any attempts to support the victim’s family and have been on the run to evade arrest.”  
 
The court concluded the two indirectly committed a murder by not saving the victim when he was drowning in a stream, the same verdict as the lower court.  
 
Prosecutors earlier sought a life sentence for both suspects claiming that they both indirectly and directly committed murder by "gaslighting" the victim to dive into the stream.
 
Gaslighting can be defined as manipulating someone by psychological means into questioning their own sanity. 
 
The court, however, said it is unclear whether the murder was directly derived from gaslighting the victim.
 
Both Lee and Cho are accused of drowning Lee’s 39-year-old husband surnamed Yoon in June 2019 in a stream in Gapyeong, Gyeonggi just four hours before his life insurance expired.
 
The 39-year-old, who did not know how to swim, jumped into the water from a 4-meter-high cliff after Lee and Cho asked him to do so, according to the prosecution. 
 
The prosecution said that Lee had full control of the victim’s life since getting married in March 2017, allegedly leading him to destitution. Lee’s husband worked at a large company in Korea for 16 years and received a relatively high salary of 60 million won a year, according to reports.  

 
In a phone call with Lee in December 2018, Yoon sobbed to his wife saying “he has no idea how much debt he has” and asks if they should break up.
 
In January 2019, just five months before his death, he texted Cho that “he does not want to be called trash by Lee” and is “scared that his wife will be mad and swear at him.”
 
Lee and Cho are also accused of trying to kill the victim in 2019 by poisoning his food and pushing him into the water. 
 
The pair was arrested on April 16 last year in Goyang, Gyeonggi after police put them on a wanted list and made their identities public.  

BY CHO JUNG-WOO [cho.jungwoo1@joongang.co.kr]
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