[Newsmaker] Top court upholds life sentence for ‘Molar Daddy’ over murder of daughter’s friend

By Choi Ji-won
  • Published : Nov 29, 2018 - 14:01
  • Updated : Nov 29, 2018 - 17:10

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the lower court’s life sentence ruling for Lee Young-hak, 36, who was found guilty of murdering his 14-year-old daughter’s friend. 

The court also denied Lee’s claims that he was mentally unstable at the time of the crime. 

Lee Young-hak, 36, who was found guilty of murdering his 14-year-old daughter’s friend, heads to court, Nov. 17, 2017 (Yonhap)

In September 2017, Lee was charged with homicide of a minor, indecent acts using force and abandonment of the body. He confessed to choking the girl, 14, after drugging her and committing indecent acts on her.

Lee received the death penalty at the first trial. However, the appeals court reduced the sentence to life in prison, saying, “The murder was somewhat accidental, and there is also a low possibility of recidivism.”

The top court confirmed a minimum of four years and a maximum of six years of imprisonment for his daughter, whose identity has been withheld, for luring the friend to her house and helping her father to dump the body. Minors may serve the minimum prison sentence if they show good behavior.

The killing came as a shock to the nation, as Lee had been dubbed “Molar Daddy” after appearing on a TV show in the 2000s as a poor man who was suffering from a rare dental tumor and trying to make a living for himself and his daughter, who inherited the same incurable disorder.

Lee was also indicted for forcing his wife into sex trafficking, beating her and recording her having sexual intercourse with other men. The wife took her own life in September 2018 as did Lee’s stepfather, whom Lee falsely reported as having raped his wife.

By Choi Ji-won (