Yongsan officer charged with murdering his wife
September 28, 2003
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — A U.S. Army officer was charged Monday with murder in the slaying of his 53-year-old wife.
Maj. Richard Hart, 45, is also charged with obstruction of justice and adultery in U.S. military court, Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, an 8th Army spokesman, said Friday. The case is under investigation and no further details were released.
Under Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 118, the maximum punishment for a murder conviction is death.
Hart was arrested Aug. 12 after Inchon Highway Patrol officers spotted him dumping something off Yongjong Bridge at about 3:40 a.m. on the way to Inchon International Airport, South Korean police said. About 320 yards from the bridge, Hart’s car broke down. Police questioned and arrested him.
The body of his wife, Patricia Ann Hart, was recovered below the bridge wrapped in plastic and sealed with duct tape, police said. The body showed no signs of trauma.
Officials from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner’s Office performed an autopsy, but results have yet to be released.
Hart denies killing his wife, police said.
But South Korean police say he admitted punching her Aug. 9 after an argument.
Hart claimed he left his house and returned the same day, finding his wife on the floor, police said. He also said he returned Aug. 11 or Aug. 12 and found her still on the floor.
Although Hart was arrested off-post, he was turned over to the U.S. military. Because the case involved two people governed by the Status of Forces Agreement, the U.S. military has primary jurisdiction.
Hart is in custody at the Camp Humphreys jail.
Hart came to South Korea on an unaccompanied tour June 26 and lived in Itaewon.
Army officials said his wife was visiting him before she was killed.
— Choe Song-won contributed to this report.