20-year jail term sought for 1997 ‘Itaewon murder’ suspect

January 15, 2016
Arthur Patterson, the suspect of a 1997 murder in Itaewon, arrives at Incheon International Airport, Wednesday, after he had been extradited to Korea 16 years after he fled to the U.S. (Yonhap)

Arthur Patterson, the suspect of a 1997 murder in Itaewon, arrives at Incheon International Airport, after he had been extradited to Korea 16 years after he fled to the U.S. (Yonhap)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — Prosecutors on Friday demanded 20 years in jail for a U.S. citizen charged with slaying a Korean man nearly two decades ago.

Arthur Patterson, who was 17 at the time, is accused of stabbing 22-year-old college student Cho Joong-pil multiple times to his death inside a bathroom at a Burger King in Itaewon, a neighborhood popular with foreigners here, in 1997.

During a hearing at the Seoul Central District Court, prosecutors demanded the maximum term for minors under the age of 18, saying the suspect should in fact be jailed for life.

In demanding the sentence, they cited the brutality of the crime, Patterson’s attitude during the trial, and their judgment based on reenactments of the scene at the time.

Patterson has insisted on his innocence, saying his then-friend Edward Lee committed the crime.

Lee was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1998 but later acquitted by the Supreme Court due to lack of evidence.

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