Prosecutor asks for light sentence for American tried in stomping death
Stars and Stripes June 7, 2003
SEOUL — A Seoul prosecutor asked a four-judge panel Thursday to sentence an American woman to seven years in a Korean prison for stomping to death her traveling companion two years ago in Seoul — but the American’s lawyer maintained she’s innocent.
The attorneys were speaking at the last trial session before June 19, when the judges are to issue a decision.
Kenzi Noris Elizabeth Snider, 21, of St. Cloud, Minn., is the first American ever extradited to South Korea for a crime committed here. She is charged with unintentionally killing Jamie Lynn Penich, 21, of Derry Township, Pa.
The maximum sentence for the charge is 15 years.
Penich died March 18, 2001, in a small motel room in the Itaewon entertainment district, about a mile from the U.S. Army’s Yongsan Garrison.
An FBI agent testified at Snider’s trial that she confessed to FBI and Army Criminal Investigation Command agents in February 2002 in Huntington, W.Va. Several U.S. soldiers were questioned in connection with the death after being seen dancing and socializing with the girls hours before Penich was killed.
Defense attorney Om Sang-ik argued Snider is innocent. He claims Snider’s confession isn’t valid because it was obtained by U.S. agents who lacked proper authority. No physical evidence connects Snider with the crime, Om said.
“We think that the statement that they got from Kenzi Snider is not true,” Om told the court panel.
In previous hearings, Snider testified she felt she was a scapegoat pegged to protect U.S. soldiers who may have killed Penich.
Based on blood-stained footprints found in the motel room, Korean police have said the killer wore a size 9 or 10 Skechers-brand shoe. Snider wears a women’s size 9 or men’s size 7, according to her mother, Heath Bozonie, who is staying in Korea through the end of the trial.
— Choe Song-won contributed to this report.