TRIAL DATE SET FOR ARMY MAJOR IN
KOREA CHARGED WITH MURDER OF
WIFE – SAID TO HAVE DUMPED NUDE
BODY, WRAPPED IN PLASTIC AND
BOUND WITH DUCT TAPE, OFF BRIDGE
NEAR INCHEON AIRPORT
It was the worst possible timing. Around 0430 hours, last August 12, MAJ Richard Hart stopped his car in the middle of the Yongjong Bridge near Incheon International Airport.
A South Korean highway patrol happened upon the scene at that moment and witnessed the officer dumping something onto the marshy tidal plain below. That ”something” turned out to be Hart’s petite wife, Patricia, her nude and lifeless body wrapped in plastic and duct tape.
The Incheon cops observed Hart, 45, get back in his car and try to leave, but the vehicle stalled only a few yards away. The Army major was taken into custody and waived his rights, giving a verbal statement to a CID agent at the Korean police station.
Hart maintained he’d had a spat with his 53 year-old wife after an argument about his Korean mistress. The major’s wife had discovered photos of the girlfriend and had traveled to Korea to confront her hubby. The major was on an unaccompanied tour.
When cops questioned the girlfriend, she said she’d begun the affair with Hart on his last Korean tour three years earlier. She told investigators Hart promised to divorce his wife and marry her. The mistress was under the impression Hart had already obtained a divorce prior to his return to Yongsan Garrison.
The major admitted he hit his wife during an argument in his apartment off post but denied any intention to kill her. Prosecutors claim Hart strangled the woman in a “premeditated murder.” However, pathologist testimony during Hart’s Article 32 hearing in December indicated “blunt force trauma” was the most likely cause of death.
Hart has until March 31 to decide whether he wants a bench or jury trial. Col. Edward O’Brien, the 6th Judicial Circuit judge, set trial date to begin on May 17. The accused is being held under heavy guard at the Camp Humphreys lock-up.
Sources said Hart had a volatile relationship with his wife. The marriage was marked by a series of fights. After one battle, when the major was stationed at Ft. Lewis Wash., his wife ended up in the hospital and Hart at the MP station.
At the Article 32 hearing, Hart’s 19 year-old daughter Allison testified that her father was often angry when he was drinking and had broken her nose with one punch after an argument over a cell phone.
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