The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Father Who Burned Children to Death in Failed Murder Suicide Takes Plea

The life of the coward who murdered his two children in a failed murder-suicide revenge plot had his life spared again, reports the Los Angeles Times. In exchange for a guilty plea and two life sentences, he will not face the death penalty.

In 2006, Dae Kwon Yun, 61, picked his two children up for a shopping and movie trip. The trip ended when Yun parked in an industrial area, doused the interior of the car with gasoline, and lit the car ablaze with him and the children inside. His daughter tried to walk away before the fire, but a witness said that Yun forced her back into the car, reports the Times.

Shortly after the flames exploded, Yun dove out of the car, back and legs aflame, and rolled around on the ground. He screamed for help but did not gesture towards his dying children in the vehicle.

Prior to the failed suicide, Yun had closed his T-shirt factory due to gambling debts. His wife had also left him that year, two years after he was given probation for beating her.

The resolution of this six-year-old case was likely made possible by voters' rejection of Prop. 34, which would have ended the death penalty in California. Had it passed, Yun likely would have had little motivation to take a plea bargain.

Instead, with the specter of the death penalty, a lengthy trial, and if convicted, years of appeals in front of him, he chose to take the plea and spend the rest of his life in prison. One wonders how many cases were delayed in hopes of avoiding the death penalty possibility and whether that will lead to a short-term uptick in murder case plea bargains.

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