At around 8:40 am on June 12, 1995, white smoke leaked from an apartment building in Bulgwang-dong, Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul. The security guard made a call to the household via the intercom. no one received A security guard suspected a fire and called 119. The cause of the smoke was a fire that started in the closet in the master bedroom.
Firefighters arrived and put out the fire within 10 minutes. There was an unexpected incident in the bathroom that went into the scene. A woman and a girl in her early 30s were found dead. It was the body of a dentist mother, Mr. Choi, and her one-year-old daughter. At this time, her husband, her surgeon, Mr. Lee, was out because it was the day he opened a private hospital.
The so-called ‘Dentist Mother and Daughter Murder Case’ is a case that fell into a labyrinth due to the failure of the initial investigation, and remains an unsolved case to this day, 28 years later.
The suspect’s husband who went to work at 7 am?According to the circumstances related to the incident recorded in the investigation materials of the police and prosecution, Mr. Choi and his daughter were floating in a bathtub filled with water with strangulation marks. The white short-sleeved T-shirt Choi was wearing had been removed. Her panties were down to near her knees. A small amount of blood was also found between the stripped T-shirt and Choi’s lips and fingernails.
The fire was presumed to have first ignited from clothes in the closet in the master bedroom. Cash and a check worth 518,000 won in Choi’s bag remained intact.
Police suspect Choi’s husband, her surgeon, Lee. During the investigation, it was discovered that Choi had an internal lover, and after Lee found out about her wife’s affair메이저놀이터, she became enraged and suspected that she had murdered her wife and daughter.
In addition, it was found that Mr. Lee abandoned the bodies of his wife and daughter in a bathtub filled with hot water to manipulate the time of the incident, and that he went to work at 7 am after setting fire to the house to make an alibi.
However, the police were unable to find direct evidence such as fingerprints or tools to prove the crime. At the scene of the incident, the temperature of the water in the bathtub was measured with only a finger, and after 10 days, the temperature was measured, and the initial investigation was insufficient, such as submitting a record or not taking pictures from various angles.
After the transfer, the prosecution mobilized state-of-the-art equipment such as various forensic knowledge and computer fire simulation programs for nearly three months before indictment, but in fact failed to find direct physical evidence. However, with circumstantial evidence, Lee was pointed out. On September 26, 1995, the prosecution arrested and indicted Lee.
Death and fire, before 7am or after… The ‘Time’ Mystery
On February 24, 1996, at the first trial held at the Western Branch of the Seoul District Court at the time, Mr. Lee was found guilty and sentenced to death.
In the appellate trial, the part where the prosecution and the defense were in a tight confrontation was the accuracy of the estimated time of death and the time of the fire.
The prosecution’s claim is that Mr. Lee killed his wife and daughter on the day of the incident and set fire to the closet just before going to work at 7 am. It was based on the opinion of domestic forensic scientists that the time of death is estimated to be before 7 a.m. based on the hardness of the corpse (shigang) or spots (siban) on the corpse.
Prosecutors also claimed a ‘delayed fire’, saying, “In order to disguise that a fire broke out after Mr. Lee went to work, he intentionally started a fire in a closet, an enclosed space where fire slowly burns.” It was explained that if you set fire to clothes in a closet in an airtight room, it takes more than two hours for the smoke to be discovered outside.
Mr. Lee’s lawyer brought Prof. Thomas Kromfetzer, a prominent Swiss forensic scientist, to a domestic court. He testified, “Estimating the time of death with time and time has a wide margin of error. If the body is immersed in hot water, rigidity may occur early.” .
In addition, unlike the prosecution, who reproduced the ignition time with computer simulation, they made a real apartment model by spending 18 million won and conducted a fire experiment. As a result, it was proved that smoke could be seen outside 5 to 6 minutes after starting the fire. If so, it could be said that a third person set the fire after Mr. Lee left the house at 7:00 am.
‘death penalty → innocence → guilt → innocence’… 8 year trial
After seven years and eight months of court battles, the Supreme Court made a final verdict of not guilty. Previously, the first trial sentenced Mr. Lee to death, the second trial sentenced him to death, the Supreme Court again dismissed the guilty verdict, and the Seoul High Court sentenced him not guilty again.
The Supreme Court judge explained the reason for the acquittal, saying, “There is no direct evidence to admit guilt, and the time of death, which is the most important indirect evidence, is also unclear.”
Attorney Kim Hyung-tae, who acted as a lawyer for Mr. Lee, said at the time, “The great principle of the criminal law not to make one innocent criminal even if ten criminals are missed has been confirmed.” said.
As a result, the police and prosecution’s claims were not accepted by the court, so this case remains an unsolved case and a failed scientific investigation for 28 years.