SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Enraged parents wept and screamed as a judge sentenced a South Korean ferry captain to 36 years in prison Tuesday for negligence and abandoning passengers when his ship sank earlier this year, killing more than 300 people, mostly high school students.
The highly anticipated verdict came on the same day officials called off searches for the final nine victims and reflects the continuing grief and finger-pointing over one of the worst disasters in South Korean history. Victims’ relatives immediately criticized the sentences for Capt. Lee Joon-seok and 14 other crew members as too lenient. Lee was acquitted of a homicide charge, which could have carried a death sentence, because the court said there wasn’t proof that he knew his actions would cause such a massive loss of life.