USFK Army officer's murder trial to begin
December 15, 2003
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — The Article 32 hearing for an Army major accused of killing his wife and dumping her body from a bridge near Incheon International Airport begins in a military courtroom here Monday.
Maj. Richard Hart, 45, has been held at a Camp Humphreys confinement facility since August, when South Korean police arrested him on a highway bridge outside Seoul. Hart will face charges of murder, two counts of obstruction of justice, adultery and assault, officials have said.
Few details of the case have been available since Hart was turned over to U.S. military custody after being arrested in the early morning hours of Aug. 12.
Incheon Highway Patrol officers arrested Hart, who is assigned to U.S. Forces Korea headquarters, after allegedly observing him dump something off the Yongjong bridge around 4 a.m.
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.
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 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 came to South Korea on June 26 on an unaccompanied tour and lived in Itaewon. His wife apparently was visiting him at the time of her death, officials said.