South Korea jails American for Seoul Burger King murder

Arthur John Patterson flanked by South Korean police officers Image copyright AP
Image caption Arthur John Patterson was extradited to South Korea in September 2015

An American man has been jailed in South Korea for the 1997 murder of a man who was stabbed to death in the toilet of a Burger King restaurant.

Arthur John Patterson had denied killing 22-year-old Jo Jung-Pil in the capital Seoul.

He has been given a 20-year sentence, the maximum for someone aged under 18 at the time of a crime.

Patterson, who was 17 years old at the time, was extradited from the US years after another American was acquitted.

Mr Jo, 22, was found with multiple stab wounds in the fast food restaurant in Seoul. Prosecutors said the men did not know each other and argued that Patterson had shown a "devil-like brutality" in stabbing Mr Jo to death for no apparent reason.

Public anger

Edward Lee, a Korean-American friend of Patterson's who was at the scene, was initially found guilty of murder after a trial in 1998. Both men admitted to witnessing the murder but accused each other of killing Mr Jo.

Patterson was initially tried as an accomplice. He was found guilty and he served a short jail term.

But Mr Lee was acquitted on appeal for lack of evidence. After being released, Patterson fled to the US.

Prosecutors re-opened the case after a 2009 film based on the events re-ignited public anger.

Patterson was living in the city because his father was a civilian contractor to the US military. The crime happened in the nightlife district of Itaewon, close to a US military base.

There are about 28,000 US military personnel based in South Korea. The two militaries regularly carry out drills together, which are unpopular with many South Koreans.

Patterson was formally charged with the murder in his absence in 2011, leading to his extradition.

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