A man who lost his wife, daughter and baby granddaughters when a military jet crashed into their home testified Monday that he misses his wife most when he eats breakfast alone and at night when he goes to bed alone.
"The U.S. Navy took all my dreams away. I have nothing," said Sanghyun Lee.
Through a translator, he told a federal judge that his pain, sorrow and loneliness are impossible for anyone to understand unless they've experienced a similar loss.
A judge is presiding over a two-day nonjury trial to determine whether the government should pay Lee, and his son-in-law Don Yoon, compensation for the deaths of Young Mi Yoon, 36, Grace, 15 months, Rachel, 2 months and Suk Im Kim, 60.
Lee flew to San Diego from Korea to testify. He described how he immediately went to the U.S. embassy to get permission to fly to the U.S. after he learned in a phone call that his wife, daughter and two grandchildren had been killed.
"I lost everything," Lee said about those deaths. "I can't do anything now."
The FA-18-D Hornet was heading to MCAS Miramar when its engines died. The student Marine pilot ejected from his seat and survived.
The Marine Corps said bad decisions and a string of errors led to the deadly accident, which also destroyed a second home and damaged three others.
In March of 2009, a Marine investigation determined that the pilot should have landed at NAS North Island. It also concluded that the Hornet should have been removed from service when mechanics realized it had a fuel problem.
Four leaders of the squadron were relieved of duty.
Don Yoon lost his wife, daughters and mother-in-law in the crash. The judge will decide how much economic loss Yoon suffered as a result of the deaths.
The family is represented by Kevin Boyle, a Los Angeles attorney.