The co-founder of frozen yogurt chain Pinkberry was sentenced to seven years in prison Friday for using a tire iron to beat a homeless man on a Los Angeles freeway exit ramp in what the judge called a savage and merciless attack.
Young Lee – who is no longer involved with the frozen yogurt company -- was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in November in an attack prosecutors said was sparked by the victim's sexually explicit stick-figure tattoo. The attack occurred in June 2011 near the Vermont Avenue exit ramp from the 101 Freeway.
The victim was changing his sweatshirt before the attack, exposing the tattoo as Lee arrived in a sport utility vehicle, according to court documents.
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Lee, 49, parked the SUV on Vermont Avenue, grabbed a tire iron and continued arguing with the man, court documents said. The man -- Lee accused him of disrespecting him by flashing the tattoo -- suffered a concussion and broken arm, his attorney said.
During a 2012 preliminary hearing, Donald Bolding said he was panhandling on the ramp when he saw a man approach with a tire iron and demand an apology.
"It was a bad day. I was assaulted," he said at the hearing. "I'm befuddled. I'm like, 'What are you talking about?' That's when he hits me with the tire iron."
Witnesses called 911 and provided the license plate that led to Lee's vehicle.
Lee traveled to Korea and England in the wake of the attack, but he was arrested in January 2012 at Los Angeles International Airport by a fugitive task force.
The seven-year prison sentence was the maximum penalty for which Lee was eligible. He faces a restitution hearing May 14.