South Korea upholds 20-year sentence for former US Forces Korea dependent
SEOUL, South Korea — The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a 20-year prison sentence for a former U.S. Forces Korea dependent convicted in the 1997 stabbing death of a South Korean college student.
Arthur Patterson, who was the 17-year-old son of a U.S. military contractor at the time of the killing, was not in court to hear the response to his final appeal.
Patterson’s lawyer maintained that his client is not guilty.
The case has captivated South Koreans for nearly two decades as Patterson and a friend, both Korean-Americans, accused each other of fatally stabbing 22-year-old Cho Joong-pil at a Burger King in Itaewon, a popular shopping and entertainment district nearby the U.S. Army’s Yongsan Garrison.
Patterson was initially convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison for destroying evidence and possessing a deadly weapon. He was released in 1998 as part of an annual amnesty to mark South Korea’s Liberation Day.
Patterson returned to the U.S. in 1999 after prosecutors failed to renew a travel hold, although they reserved the right to file additional charges against him.
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