American man sentenced to 20 years for South Korea homicide

The defendant had stabbed the victim on both sides of his neck and on the right side of his chest, a South Korean court said.
By Elizabeth Shim  |  Jan. 29, 2016 at 11:31 AM
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SEOUL, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Arthur John Patterson, the American charged with the 1997 murder of a South Korean college student, was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison.

A Seoul court found the California man guilty of stabbing Cho Joong-pil in a Burger King restroom, in one of Seoul's most popular nightlife districts.

"There is credibility in statements made by Edward Lee, an accomplice, that [he] witnessed Patterson stabbing the victim," the court said Friday, according to Yonhap.

"Due to Patterson's crime, the victim lost his life at a young age and the opportunities to experience all sorts of human emotions.

"Still, [Patterson] shifted all the blame to his accomplice and did not show any remorse, requiring a grave punishment."

Patterson had denied the charges and had accused Lee of homicide.

According to the court statement, Lee incited Patterson to murder Cho and led the way into the restroom where the incident occurred.

South Korean television network JTBC reported Patterson had stabbed Cho, on both sides of his neck, and on the right side of his chest. The court said they also found evidence Patterson washed his shirt and hands before leaving the scene of the crime.

Lee, who was charged and sentenced to a term in prison in 1998, cannot be penalized because he was subjected to double jeopardy.

At the time, Patterson, the son of an American military contractor, was regarded as an accomplice and facing lesser charges, served an 18-month prison sentence.

Lee was released the same year he was sentenced in an annual government amnesty – then acquitted for lack of evidence after a retrial ordered by South Korea's Supreme Court.

During a reinvestigation that began in 1999, Patterson emerged as the prime suspect in the case but because Seoul had not renewed his travel ban, Patterson returned to the United States. He was detained in California in 2011, and extradited to South Korea last September.

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