Korea's Supreme Court Sentences 'Burger King Killer' to 20 Years in Jail
SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top court on Wednesday sentenced a U.S. citizen to 20 years in prison for murdering a South Korean college student in 1997.
The Supreme Court upheld a lower court's conviction of Arthur Patterson, 37, accused of stabbing Cho Joong-pil, a college student, multiple times at a Burger King in the popular foreigner district of Itaewon in central Seoul.
The court maintained the 20-year prison term, the severest penalty possible for the defendant who was an adolescent at the time of the crime.
Patterson has been denying the charges and pointed to his Korean-American friend Edward Lee, who he was with at the site of the homicide, as the culprit. In 1998, a local court found Lee guilty of murder and sentenced him to life in prison, but he was acquitted by the Supreme Court the following year because of a lack of evidence.
On Wednesday, the top court acknowledged Lee as an accomplice but he cannot be punished due to the prohibition against double jeopardy.
At the time, the half-Korean Patterson was in Seoul as the dependent of a civilian worker with the U.S. military. He fled the country in 1999 as local law enforcement authorities failed to extend his foreign travel ban.
Patterson was indicted for murder in December 2011 and extradited to South Korea from the United States in September 2015.'