On May 12, the Seoul High Court announced its decision to reject Lee's appeal and uphold the lower court's ruling to sentence Lee to 18 years in prison. Lee had claimed that his body and mental state were weakened due to alcohol consumption, stating that he "did dispose of Kim's dead body" but that he "did not murder her."
The courts reasoned, "Lee's laptop contained a file which described how he had strangled the victim to death, and at the investigative agency, he confessed to his crime in such detail which would not have been possible had he not committed the crime himself. We do not believe that Lee was not 'in the right state of mind and body' from drinking at the time [he committed the crime]. Taking into consideration that the motive for his crime is atrocious and that the victims family members experienced extreme emotional distress, the ruling from the first trial is neither too heavy nor too light."