US man returned to Seoul to stand trial for 1997 slaying

NY Times News Service, SEOUL

Thu, Sep 24, 2015 - Page 6

A US man yesterday arrived in Seoul in handcuffs as South Korea prepared to revisit a notorious murder case from 1997.

Arthur John Patterson, 35, of Sunnyvale, California, faces trial on charges that he murdered Jo Jung-pil, a 22-year-old South Korean college student, in Itaewon.

Patterson, 17 when the killing occurred in April 1997, was the son of a US military contractor.

Upon arriving at Incheon International Airport outside Seoul yesterday, he denied killing Jo.

Patterson and Edward Lee, a Korean-American friend, had said they were at the restroom when Jo was killed and accused each other of the killing.

Prosecutors initially indicted Lee on a murder charge, while they treated Patterson as an accomplice and indicted him on lesser charges. Patterson was sentenced to 18 months in prison while Lee was sentenced to 20 years.

However, in a 1998 retrial, Lee was acquitted for lack of evidence, and the following year, prosecutors turned their focus on Patterson.