Hearing for major charged in wife's killing postponed to Dec. 15
December 4, 2003
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — The scheduled Article 32 hearing for a U.S. Army major charged with killing his wife has been postponed.
Maj. Richard Hart, 45, will face a pretrial hearing Dec. 15, 8th Army spokesman Lt. Col. Steve Boylan said Tuesday. The hearing for Hart, who is being held at the Camp Humphreys confinement facility, was originally slated for Thursday. Boylan said Tuesday he was unable to comment on why convening authority approved the postponement.
In addition to charges of murder, obstruction of justice and adultery, Hart will also now face additional obstruction and assault charges, Boylan said.
Few details have been available since Hart was turned over to U.S. military custody in August.
Under the Status of Forces Agreement with South Korea, the U.S. military has jurisdiction if a case involves only personnel covered by the agreement.
Incheon Highway Patrol officers arrested Hart early Aug. 12 after allegedly observing him dump something off a bridge on the way to Incheon International Airport. Officers subsequently recovered the nude body of his wife, Patricia Anne Hart, 53, wrapped in plastic and duct tape, on the marshy tidal plain below.
Korean National Police officials said Hart’s Kia Pride broke down about 320 yards away from where he first stopped on Yongjong bridge as he allegedly was trying to leave the scene around 4 a.m.
Before he was turned over to U.S. military custody, Hart allegedly denied killing his wife but said he punched her Aug. 9 during an argument at his home, South Korean police officials have said. Hart allegedly said he left the house the same day and returned to find his wife still on the floor.
Hart said he returned two or three days later, and his wife was still on the floor, police said. Though military officials have not released autopsy results, South Korean police said they observed no signs of trauma on the body.
Hart, who came to South Korea on June 26 and lived in Itaewon, was on an unaccompanied tour assigned to U.S. Forces Korea headquarters. His wife apparently was visiting him at the time of her death, officials said.
Jeremy Kirk contributed to this report.