Arthur Patterson Seoul Murder: American Gets 20 Years

Published: January 29, 2016

Arthur Patterson Seoul Murder: American Gets 20 Years, American Arthur Patterson was sentenced to 20 years in prison Friday by a South Korean court for fatally stabbing a university student at a Seoul Burger King restaurant in 1997.

Patterson, 36, from California, had denied stabbing Cho Joong-pil and blamed the-then college student’s death on an accomplice, Korean-American Edward Lee, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency. Lee blamed Patterson.

Patterson was 17 at the time, the son of a U.S. military contractor. College student Cho was found murdered on the bathroom floor with knife wounds to his neck. The Burger King was in Itaewon, an area near a U.S. military base.

Lee was initially found guilty of the murder and sentenced to life in prison in 1998 but his conviction was subsequently overturned because of a lack of evidence.

While the court recognized Lee as an accomplice he can’t be punished under the nation’s double jeopardy laws that prohibit someone from being prosecuted for the same crime twice.

Patterson, who has continued to maintain his innocence, originally received an 18-month jail term for destroying evidence, but he was later freed in a special amnesty and fled the country while authorities launched a new investigation. He was extradited to South Korea from Los Angeles in September last year.

“There is credibility in statements made by Edward Lee, an accomplice, that (he) witnessed Patterson stabbing the victim,” the Seoul Central District Court said.

“(Lee) incited Patterson to murder (Cho) and led the way into the bathroom (where the incident took place).”

The case has drawn scrutiny in South Korea, where there is regular criticism of the behavior of American military personnel and the presence of U.S. military bases.

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