A woman and man suspected of causing the 2019 drowning death of the woman’s husband were indicted for murder by state prosecutors on Wednesday, as the investigators set themselves up for a court fight to prove her criminal intent.
The Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office indicted 31-year-old Lee Eun-hae and her accomplice, 30-year-old Cho Hyun-soo ,on charges of murder, attempted murder, and violation of insurance fraud law. The pair is accused of inciting Lee’s husband Yoon Sang-yeop to jump into a deep mountain stream in Gapyeong, Gyeonggi Province, to his death. They are also accused of attempting to murder Yoon on two other occasions prior to the incident.
The charges applied to Lee and Cho were murder, not murder by inaction, which in court can lead to a lighter punishment. The latter is when a person has a duty to prevent the occurrence of danger or who has caused danger, but does not take the action necessary to prevent it.
Lee Eun-hae enters the Incheon District Court for legal proceedings related to her arrest warrant on April 19. (Yonhap)
This means the prosecution believes that Yoon’s death was caused by the suspects’ unlawful actions -- which in this case would be forcing a man unable to swim to jump into deep waters -- rather than their failing to take necessary actions to rescue him.
Investigators also wrote in their indictment that Lee and Cho, who have maintained an extramarital relationship for several years, are believed to have gaslighted the victim. Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which the abuser misleads the victim into a false perception of reality. Investigators concluded that the murder motive was for the pair to receive death benefits from Yoon’s life insurance of around 800 million won ($632,000).
Lee and Cho had been on the run four months since Dec. 14, before being arrested on April 16 in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province. Investigators recently took two men into custody for providing a hideout for Lee and Cho, while conducting an investigation on two more individuals believed to have helped the pair run from the law.
By Yoon Min-sik