South Korea jails Burger King murderer

Court jails American for 20 years over killing of South Korean student in toilet of Burger King in 1997

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Arthur John Patterson

A South Korean court on Friday sentenced an American who killed a South Korean student at a Burger King restaurant 19 years ago to 20 years in jail.

Arthur John Patterson, who was 17 when he killed the student, had denied killing 22-year-old Jo Jung-Pil Cho whose body was found with stab wounds on the floor of a restaurant bathroom in 1997.

South Korean officials said Patterson, whose father was a civilian contractor for the US military, fled to the United States following the murder.

"The court decided on a life sentence, but in view of the defendant's age, of being under 18 at the time, the sentence will be 20 years in prison," Judge Shim Kyu-hong said.

Prosecutors said the murderer and victim had not known each other before the assault occurred and that Patterson killed him after an arguement between the pair.

Patterson, 36, was extradited to South Korea last year after his friend Edward Lee, also a US citizen, was initially sentenced to life in prison for the murder but was later acquitted on appeal due to lack of evidence.

In the initial trial which took place in 1998 both men accused each other of the murder.

Patterson's lawyer could not immediately be reached after the verdict for comment on whether he would appeal.

TRTWorld and agencies