This guy is one lucky son-of-a-bi-…
79-Year-Old Man Released From Prison After 24 Years When Murder Conviction Overturned
A former New York businessman whose arson-murder conviction was overturned in the death of his daughter was freed from prison Friday after 24 years behind bars, following a judge’s ruling that the case against him had been based on now-debunked arson science.
Han Tak Lee, 79, was released from the maximum-security state prison at Houtzdale, Pennsylvania, and was en route to a federal court hearing to determine the conditions of his release.
“It is great news for everybody,” said Kyung Sohn, a longtime supporter who went with a pastor to pick him up and take him to court, under arrangements approved by a federal magistrate.
Several dozen friends, family members and supporters were expected to greet him at the federal courthouse in Harrisburg, the state capital.
U.S. District Judge William Nealon threw out Lee’s state conviction and sentence of life without parole earlier this month and gave prosecutors 120 days to decide whether they want to retry him in the 1989 death of his daughter, 20-year-old Ji Yun Lee.
Prosecutors have said they probably will appeal Nealon’s decision. They have conceded the arson science used to convict Lee was faulty but insist that other evidence points to his guilt.
Prosecutors REALLY want this old azz man in the whoscow?? SMH.
Lee has long argued that the 1989 fire that killed his mentally ill daughter at a religious retreat in the Pocono Mountains was accidental. In 2012, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted his request for an independent examination of evidence. That review, completed in June by a magistrate judge, concluded that “much of what was presented to Lee’s jury as science is now conceded to be little more than superstition.”
At the time of his trial, investigators were taught that unusually hot and intense fires indicated the use of an accelerant and that arson could be confirmed by the presence of deep charring or shiny blistering of wood as well as “crazed glass,” tiny fractures in windows. Research has since debunked these and other notions about arson.
We would suggest he go ahead and file a civil lawsuit to try to cash a check, but he may not even be alive to see the dough roll in.
Images via AP