LOS ANGELES (AP) — More than six years after two children burned to death in an SUV in Los Angeles, their father has pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder.
Dae Kwon Yun, 61, was sentenced to life in prison after entering the guilty pleas Tuesday and admitted special circumstances of arson murder and multiple murders, according to the district attorney's office.
The Los Angeles Times reports just before Yun entered the courtroom, authorities told the judge his status had been changed to suicidal. He responded to questions through a Korean interpreter, his voice barely audible.
The children's mother, Sun Ok Ma, testified that Yun beat her and threatened to kill her and burn down their home, leading to their separation, the Times reported.
Prosecutors agreed not to pursue a capital case against the defendant in exchange for guilty pleas to all charges.
Yun's 10-year-old son, Alexander, and 11-year-old daughter, Ashley, were killed on April 2, 2006.
Yun, who had separated from his wife about two weeks earlier, picked up the children for lunch and a movie that day. After the outing, he drove to an industrial area and put gasoline-soaked rags around the vehicle.
His daughter got out but he pulled her back inside before igniting the rags.
Yun jumped out with burns on his legs, and allegedly didn't tell a witness that his children were trapped in the car.
The Times reports Yun faced a gambling debt and owed $100,000 in back taxes.