Itaewon murder suspect files appeal

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Itaewon murder suspect files appeal

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[사진= JTBC영상 캡처]

Arthur Patterson, a 33-year-old prime suspect for the 1997 killing of a Korean college student in an Itaewon restaurant, appealed to a U.S. court against extradition to Seoul to stand trial on charges of murder.

The Ministry of Justice said yesterday the alleged murderer petitioned a California Federal Court for Habeas Corpus relief on Nov. 20, a step taken by Patterson to avoid extradition to Korea.

The legal team for the alleged killer claims Patterson was already acquitted by the court in Seoul for the murder and the Itaewon case is already settled, thus extraditing him to Korea on charges of murder is in violation of the principle of not reopening a settled case. They also reportedly argued the statute of limitations for the case already expired this April, 15 years after the murder case. His defense argues the case was closed in 1999.

It could take a number of years for the prime suspect to be sent to stand trial as Patterson could appeal to a federal appeals court even if a federal court in California rejects his petition.

Patterson, who was 18 at a time of the murder, is accused of fatally stabbing a 23-year-old college student named Cho Jung-pil, on April 3, 1997, in a bathroom of a Burger King in Itaewon, which is now the location of a coffee shop on the second floor and an Olive Young on the first floor.

By Kang Jin-kyu [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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