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South Korea Sentences US Man to 20 Years for 1997 Murder

A South Korean court has sentenced a U.S. man to 20 years in prison for the 1997 murder of a Korean man at a restaurant in the capital, Seoul.

Arthur Patterson, 36, was extradited to South Korea in September, to face charges of stabbing to death 22-year-old student Cho Choong-pil in a Burger King restroom.

Patterson, who was 17 at the time of the murder, had denied any involvement in the crime.

He was initially tried as an accomplice to his friend, Edward Lee, who was with him at the time of the murder. Both said they were innocent and accused the other of killing Cho.

Lee was sentenced to life in prison, while Patterson received 18 months for destroying evidence.

In 1998, Patterson was freed on a special amnesty program and fled to the United States while the case was being reinvestigated. Lee was also acquitted on appeal for lack of evidence and a new investigation centered on Patterson as the main perpetrator.

A South Korean movie depicting the murder was made in 2009 re-igniting public anger over the crime.

Patterson was in South Korea at the time of the killing because his father was a civilian employee working for the U.S. military. The crime occurred in a popular nightlife district.