A co-founder of the Pinkberry yogurt chain was found guilty Friday of beating a homeless man in Hollywood with a tire iron in an attack allegedly sparked by the transient’s sexually explicit tattoo, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
Young Lee – who is no longer involved with the frozen yogurt company he helped to found – was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon after using a tire iron June 15, 2011, to attack a homeless man panhandling near the Vermont Avenue exit off the Hollywood (101) Freeway.
As Lee's sport utility vehicle approached the off-ramp, Donald K. Bolding was changing his sweatshirt, exposing a sexually explicit tattoo, according to court documents.
“Instead of driving away with his passengers as a reasonable person would have done or rolling up his window, or just ignoring the plaintiff, Lee, having taken deep offense of the tattoo, rolled down the window and began an argument with the plaintiff,” Gary Casselman, the plaintiff's attorney, wrote in court documents filed in a separate civil case.
Lee, now 49, parked his SUV on Vermont Avenue, grabbed a tire iron and continued arguing with Bolding, now with both of them on the sidewalk, court documents said.
The beating broke Bolding's arm and gave him a concussion, his attorney said.
The transient said he was bleeding when he ran into oncoming traffic in an effort to avoid being attacked further. He testified that he was ordered to get on his hands and knees to apologize as he fell against a fence.
Passersby called 911 and gave authorities the license plate number of Lee’s vehicle.
After the attack, Lee traveled to Korea and England. He was arrested Jan. 30, 2012, at Los Angeles International Airport by a fugitive task force.
Lee was ordered to stand trial in July 2012 on a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon. He had been free on bail but was taken into custody after the verdict was read.
A jury deliberated for a little more than a day before finding Lee guilty of the assault charge. Jurors also found true the allegation that the attack caused great bodily injury.
Lee is expected to appear in court Jan. 14, 2014, for sentencing. He faces up to seven years in state prison.
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