S.Korea's highest court upholds 20-year jail term for US man

Park Sae-jin Reporter() | Posted : January 25, 2017, 13:35 | Updated : January 25, 2017, 13:35

[An image captured from MBC TV]

South Korea's highest court upheld a 20-year jail sentence for a US citizen Wednesday with brutally murdering a college student with no apparent motive two decades ago while he was a teenager.

Arthur Patterson, 38, was found guilty of stabbing Jo Jung-Pil multiple times with a knife in a fast-food restaurant toilet in 1997 when he was the 17-year-old son of a US military contractor. He was arrested in Los Angeles and extradited in September 2015 to face trial in Seoul, although he denied his involvement in the cruel crime.

The Supreme Court ruled Patterson deserves harsh punishment for his brutality in stabbing a stranger to death.

Initially, he was tried in 1997 as an accomplice while Edward Lee, a Korean-American man who was at the scene, was charged with murder. They accused the other of killing Jo, but Patterson served 18 months in prison as an accomplice while Lee was sentenced to 20 years in jail for murder.

In 1998, Patterson was released in an amnesty but became a murder suspect after Lee was acquitted on appeal for lack of evidence. Patterson fled to the United States a year later.

The unmotivated murder triggered a public outcry in South Korea. It was made into a hit movie in 2009, refueling public anger and forcing South Korean prosecutors to reopen the case.
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