Thief says ‘bad spirits’ had him bash College professor into coma

An elderly Lehman College professor died Thursday after a mugger bashed his head in during a robbery, and the man accused of pummeling him is now charged with murder.

Young Kun Kim, 87, a political science professor who taught at the college for half a century, was sucker-punched Sunday by a robber who ambushed him at an Upper West Side ATM.

The impact left Kim comatose until his death.

His alleged attacker blamed “bad spirits” for the crime.

“You have to talk to my lawyer,” Matthew Lee said as detectives took him to court early Thursday. “Something is not right. Bad spirits or something.”

Lee punched Kim from behind in the lobby of the Citibank on Broadway at W. 96th St., then ran off with $300.

Lehman College Professor Young Kun Kim, 87, was attacked and robbed outside at an Upper West Side ATM.

Lehman College Professor Young Kun Kim, 87, was attacked and robbed outside at an Upper West Side ATM. (Courtesy of Lehman College)

The attack left the Lehman community reeling. Kim, who specialized in political thought and philosophy across cultures and wrote articles for several Korean publications, was a mentor to several younger faculty members throughout his career.

Kim recently celebrated 50 years of exemplary service to the college, Lehman College President Jose Luis Cruz said.

“I was proud to present him with his award for his dedication to this noble institution,” Cruz said. “Dr. Kim has challenged and inspired generations of Lehman students, mentored young faculty members, and advanced scholarship with his area of specialization.”

Lee was awaiting arraignment on murder and robbery charges Thursday night.

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