Where is the US soldier criminal who murdered Yoon Geum-ee

Disclaimer: The following is a totally unauthoritative personal translation of an article appeared in <The Hankyoreh 21> on Nov. 15, 2011, reporting a story of a murder criminal on parole and disparate treatment of Korean parolees and US parolees. That’s all because of unfair KOR-US SOFA it claims. All rights regarding this post stay with the author of original article or with <The Hankyoreh 21> and this post will be scrapped immediately at their request. Original article of this post (in Korean) can be found in the link at the bottom.

Where is the US soldier criminal who murdered Yoon Geum-ee [2011.11.14 제885호]

Private Kenneth Lee Markle, the murderer of Yoon Geum-ee, who left for US the next day of parole …

Korea government, “US administration is in charge of criminals as dictated in SOFA” and never even tried to identify the address of paroled US soldier

고나무


» The military camp town Ms. Yoon Geum-ee was murdered in 1992 is now a foreign tourist special district. Streets are tidier but the fear of crimes by US soldiers is not cleared yet. Han Wan-soo, the director of Dongdoocheon women’s counseling center, relayed the regional sentiment in a phone call with <Hankyoreh21> “US soldiers recently hang out not around Bosan station but around Jihang station, the downtown where Dongdoocheon citizens usually get together and spend time. Many parents who raise daughters in Dongdoocheon complain ‘We can’t live like this’.” <Hankyoreh21> Tak Ki-hyeong 탁기형 선임기자

The name Dongdoocheon was originated from water. In Dongdoocheon, ‘Shincheon’ flows from south to north and meets Hantan-gang (river) in the north. If you get on the subway line no. 1 at Seoul City Hall station, you will get to the Soyo-san (mountain). It’s far; it takes more than an hour. Dongdoocheon is just before that. Dongdoocheon-si (city) covers Jihang station ~ Dongdoocheon center station ~ Bosan station ~ Dongdoocheon station of subway line no. 1. Soyo-san (mountain) is near.

Private Markle who murdered Ms. Yoon Geum-ee


» Kenneth Lee Markle III was just 20 when he committed the murder. He kept on changing his depositions during interrogation, indictment, and court trial. <Hankyoreh> Jang Cheol-gyoo  장철규 기자

Just at the exit no. 1 of Bosan station is a name board of Brazilian restaurant, in English. When you turn your head to right in front of that board, you can see the ‘Crown Club’ name board. On Nov. 2 at noon, it was not open yet. From the name board, I start walking in the direction of US Army 2nd Division Camp Casey. In 1992, one US soldier walked the same street. Crown Club was packed at that time. On Oct. 28, 1992 0:30AM, one drunk US soldier came out of the club. US Army 2nd Division 1st Regiment medic private Kenneth Lee Markle III had 5 beers alone at the club. Just before coming to club, he had 16 beers and 2 gins in his barrack until Oct. 27 10:30 in the evening. It was way over the limit of a 20-year old American youngster. He staggered. A little behind hims was a Korean woman who looked more drunk than him. She was an employee of the Crown Club. They walked about 5 minutes and went to her place together. Before getting into her place, he bought and ate an egg. Before her place, they met another US soldier. Specialist Rambert of 702 Maintenance Support Battalion said to Markle “I know this woman. So leave her alone and you go away.” Rambert paid her for sex two days before. Markle declined. “I am a medic. I am not here to have a sex with her. I just walked her to her place since she did not look well.” Rambert got out of the door, cursing angrily. Ms. Yoon Geum-ee grabbed Markle not to go. Markle hit her at her forehead two times with an empty coke bottle in the room. Blood flew; it soaked Ms. Yoon Geum-ee’s body and the floor paper. Blood splattered on Markle’s shoes as well. Ms. Yoon Geum-ee passed out. Markle hit already passed out Ms. Yoon Geum-ee at her head two more times with the coke bottle. Ms. Yoon Geum-ee almost died at that time.

On Oct. 28 4:30 PM, landlord opened the door of her place and called the police. Blood flew from Ms. Yoon Geum-ee’s head. A coke bottle was stuck at her uterus. An umbrella pole was stuck at her anus. All over her dead body and her room were scattered white powder detergents. The perpetrator was not there. Uijeongbu police homicide department and USFK CID started investigation. On Oct. 30 in the morning, USFK CID arrested Kenneth Markle as the prime suspect. In 1991, Status of Forces Agreement in Korea (SOFA) was revised. But, Korean police did not demand the body of private Markle to USFK. At that time, criticisms soared for the inequality of SOFA; those were based on the argument that KOR-US SOFA was unfairer than those made between West Germany and US when US forces were stationed in West Germany or between Japan and US. Korean police, prosecution, court had no rights against Markle. Markle went back and forth between US 8th Army detention center in Pyoungtaek, Gyeonggi-do and the Seoul Regional Criminal Court courtroom in Seocho-dong, Seoul. According to SOFA at that time, Korean government could held the bodies of US soldiers only when the whole trial was over and their sentences were confirmed.

Markle hit her at her forehead two times with an empty coke bottle in the room. Blood flew; it soaked Ms. Yoon Geum-ee’s body and the floor paper. Blood splattered on Markle’s shoes as well. Ms. Yoon Geum-ee passed out. Markle hit already passed out Ms. Yoon Geum-ee at her head two more times with the coke bottle. Ms. Yoon Geum-ee almost died at that time.

Release on parole in 2006; leave to US the next day

In the court, Markle denied some of the charges. It was like that in the Seoul Regional Crimianl Court grand courtroom 417 on Feb. 17, 1993 at 2PM. He claimed two facts; it was true that he hit Ms. Yoon Geum-ee 4 times but they were all accidental; it was not him who put things on her uterus and anus. He claimed those were the acts of specialist Rambert who was jealous of him. Both Markle and Rambert changed their depositions in the police, prosecution, and court. Although Rambert’s depositions were hard to believe, so were Markle’s. First Leutenant John Glin who used the same room with Markle testified Markle’s habit of theft in court. Markle’s nickname was ‘barrack shoes’; he got this nickname when his colleagues’ things were found in his locker. Markle was disciplined for fighting his ranking officers; he was to mow the lawn in a rainy day. Markle, with a knife in his hand, said he would commit a suicide. In the next day of the crime, Markle told first leutenant Glin “If someone knows what I did on Tuesday, he will not be able to see me forever.”

A prosecutor questioned Markle in the court. “You scattered detergents over the body and the floor and stuck an umbrella pole to the victim’s anus and a coke bottle to the uterus, right?” “No” Markle denied. The prosecutor asked again “You didn’t do any of those three deeds?” Markle denied again “No, none of them.” To the prosecutor’s question “The victim died of overbleeding from damages on her head and face, you know that, right?”, Markle answered “I don’t know”.

In the second trial on Mar. 10, 1993, Ms. Yoon Geum-ee’s mother was in the courtroom. She cried when Markle denied his charges. The judge said “even victim’s mother cannot make noises in a courtroom.” Someone shouted “Suppose your daughter is murdered.” Ms. Yoon Geum-ee’s mother left the courtroom for a while.

Supreme Prosecutor’s Office DNA Investigation Room analyzed the blood on Markle’s shoe. It was identical with the blood on Ms. Yoon Geum-ee’s body. Markle was ruled guilty. Then presiding judge Byeon Dong-geol sentenced for life in prison to Markle on Apr. 14, 1994. He accepted all the charges by the prosecution. On Dec. 16, 1993, the appeal court also accepted prosecutor’s charges on Markle. But, they reduced the sentence to 15 years in prison for the reason of US government paying compensation to the surviving family. In Apr. 1994, the sentence was confirmed in the supreme court. At last, Markle was put in Korean prison. Markle was paroled in Aug. 2006, about a year before his completion of full sentence. The next day, Markle flied back to US. Ministry of Justice parole tribunal made such a decision. This fact was released to the public in Oct. that year when former leader of New Progressive Party Roh Hoi-chan asked related materials. It was long after Markle had gone to West Virginia already.

In the second trial on Mar. 10, 1993, Ms. Yoon Geum-ee’s mother was in the courtroom. She cried when Markle denied his charges. The judge said “even victim’s mother cannot make noises in a courtroom.” Someone shouted “Suppose your daughter is murdered.” Ms. Yoon Geum-ee’s mother left the courtroom for a while.


» The residential area where Ms. Yoon Geum-ee’s dead body was found is renovated now. <Hankyoreh21> Tak Ki-hyeong 탁기형 선임기자

Strict management of Korean criminals after parole

Korean criminals are strictly monitored after parole. According to a presidential order, the ‘Parolee Management Regulation’, a criminal under parole is protected and supervised by the police chief in his or her residence. Police chief in charge is supposed to make a report about the parolee’s living behavior, job, daily life, relation to his/her family etc. and distribute it to relevant government offices. If the parolee is sentenced more serious than imprisonment during parole, the parole is revoked immediately and the parolee is sent back to prison.

It is not the case for US soldier criminals. According to SOFA, US government takes charge of US soldier criminals once paroled. As in the case of Markle, even if a US soldier who committed a serious crime gets on an airplane out of Korea, Korean government does not have the authority to stop it. For US soldier criminals, parole and release are not different. US government does not even notify basic information like the residential area or living behavior of US soldiers on parole. The moment they are paroled, they become new people. Kenneth Lee Markle denied the charges on ‘dirty things’ until the end. He even wrote an artile criticizing civil organizations that demanded the revision of SOFA in an English news paper in Korea. His fatehr Kenneth Lee Markle Jr. believed in him. When his son’s sentence was confirmed in Korean court, he petitioned to US supreme court in 1994; he asked US court to block his son’s transfer from US army detention center to Korean prison. Then Chief Justice of Supreme Court William Renquist turned this down. Father and son Markles did not believe in Korean court’s judgement. We wanted to know if they are still like that.

We couldn’t reach them. We found a phone number of ‘Kenneth Markle Inc.’ in the internet. It was in Kaiser WV, the Markle’s hometown. When we contacted, it was a different company. The one on the phone call responded “I don’t know anything about former company’s address or contact number.” We can find Kenneth Markles in the whitepage (www.whitepages.com). We called them many times but they did not take them. US soldier on parole becomes just a new person in his home country. So does Markle. We even cannot find Kenneth Markle in the sexual cirminal search site (www.nsopw.gov) of US Department of Justice.

Markle was paroled in Aug. 2006, about a year before his completion of full sentence. The next day, Markle flied back to US. Ministry of Justice parole tribunal made such a decision. This fact was released to the public in Oct. that year when former leader of New Progressive Party Roh Hoi-chan asked related materials. It was long after Markle had gone to West Virginia already.

Crime scene that transformed into a ‘square of Korea-US friendship’

<Hankyoreh21> asked Korean Ministry of Justice on Oct. 11 using the information release application. “Release official documents Korean government such as Ministry of Justice sent to US government such as district attorney, court, or state government between Markle’s parole on Aug. 15, 2006 and his sentence completion in Feb. 2008 to ask about Kenneth Markle’s residence in US or his additional criminal activity.” Ministry of Justice replied on Oct. 20. “Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is in charge of parole related matters. but (US soldier) parolee’s residential address or criminal activity after release is not maintained by MoJ. Accordingly, MoJ does not have any record of official document transactions with US government. Please be notified that the information you asked about ‘Kenneth Markle’s residential area after parole or official documents MoJ transacted with US government regarding it’ does not exist and, hence, cannot be released.” We asked the same question to the police but they replied an answer of the same intention. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MoFAT) office in charge of SOFA did not know the information either. MoJ, in a phone call with <Hankyoreh21>, mentioned “according to SOFA, US government is in charge of criminals. Korean government does not have any way to stop the departure of released US soldiers. Markle seems to have completed his sentence term in US.” Kenneth Markle became a new person. If he lives somewhere in West Virginia, he must have had his 39th birthday party on Jun. 7 this year.

431-50 Bosan-dong Dongdoocheon where Ms. Yoon Geum-ee lied with blood flowing from her forehead and foreign substances in her body is Sangpae-ro’ now on Nov. 2. It is renovated with white paints. In a restaurant next to it, meats are done. Right now, Bosan-dong is a ‘foreign tourist special district’. The street where a 20-year old drunk US soldier walked with a 26-year old Korean woman on his back is now ‘Bosan-dong square of Korea-US friendship’; banners like “Welcome to 13th Dongdoocheon rock festival – rock competition. Venue: Bosan-dong square of Korea-US friendship” are hung above the street and name boards ‘Club Deep’, ‘Club Ocean’, ‘Crown Club’ that are seen from the roadside are reflecting the afternoon sunshine of 1PM. Other things also changed. Since mid 2000s, Philipino women, not Korean women, dance in Dongdoocheon clubs. Dongdoocheon’s own report says that, out of 2,615 expats registered in Dongdoocheon on last Oct. 31, as many as 585 are Philipino women. They enter with performance visas but serve customers instead. They outnumber rank 2 Chinese Korean women (253) or rank 3 Chinese women (184) by a large margin. The number of women from all other countries are in just two digits.


» The Crown Club Ms. Yoon Geum-ee worked is still open for business. Now, there is no Korean woman. Mostly, Philipino women serve US soldiers. Things like they get together with US soldiers, give birth to their babies, and get deserted afterwards happen quite often. <Hankyoreh21> Tak Ki-hyeong 탁기형 선임기자

154 US soldiers assaulted Koreans in 2010

There are things that do not change; crimes by US soldiers do not stop. According to a report from National Police Agency, ‘SOFA criminals’ that victimize Koreans keep coming up. US soldiers who raped Koreans were 5 in 2009 and 11 in 2010. US soldiers who assaulted Koreans were 130 in 2009 and 154 in 2010. Considering the fact that initial investigation for crimes by US soldiers is hampered awfully, it is presumed there will be much more unreported cases. A 2nd Division US soldier broke into a rental residence and sexually assulted an 18-year old young student who was preparing for a school qualification exam many times on Sep. 24 in the early morning. 42% of all Dongdoocheon area (95.66㎢), 40.63㎢, are provided to US Army 2nd Division Camp Casey. It is one of the 19 camps of 2nd Company in Paju, Uijeongbu, etc.. 96,246 other Dongdoocheon citizens live in the area outside the provided land. They have been like this for 46 years since US 2nd Division stationed in 1965. Both countries agreed to delay the relocation of Camp Casey to Pyoungtaek again to 2016. After that, Pyoungtaek people will live the lives of Dongdoocheon citizens. That’s the life of ‘Korea-US friendship’ in the banner.

고나무 기자 dokko@hani.co.kr

참고 문헌

<주한미군의 윤금이씨 살해사건 자료집> 중 공판 기록(주한미군범죄 근절을 위한 운동본부 펴냄)

한국·일본·나토가 미국과 맺은 SOFA 비교

미군 피고인 1심 무죄면 항소 못하는 한국 검찰

한-미 주둔군지위협정(SOFA)이 2001년 개정됐다. 그러나 시민단체는 여전히 미군이 북대서양조약기구(NATO), 일본과 맺은 SOFA에 비해 형사재판권 행사와 관련해 불평등하다고 주장한다. 주로 다음과 같은 항목들이다.

⊙지나치게 미국에 유리한 적용 대상 한-미 SOFA에서는 한국 법률의 적용을 받지 않고 SOFA상 특혜를 받을 수 있는 대상을 주한미군뿐 아니라 미군속, 그들의 가족, 기타 친척까지 포함한다. ‘기타 친척’ 여부는 미국이 판단한다. NATO 협정은 가족을 ‘배우자와 부양을 받고 있는 자녀’로 국한한다. 미-일 협정은 ‘기타 친척’을 제외한다.

⊙미국의 재판권 포기 요청권 SOFA는 한-미 어느 한쪽 나라의 법으로만 처벌할 수 있는 범죄의 경우 해당 정부가 전속 재판권을 갖는다고 규정한다. NATO, 미-일 협정과 동일하다. 문제는 하위 문서인 합의의사록에서 한국 정부가 전속 재판권을 갖고 있는 범죄에 대해서도 미군이 요청하면 포기할 수 있도록 정한 내용이다. NATO, 미-일 협정에는 존재하지 않는다. 양국 법률에 따라 모두 처벌할 수 있는 범죄에 대해서는 양국이 모두 재판권을 주장할 수 있다. 미군 가족 내부 범죄 등을 빼고 한국 정부가 1차적 재판권을 갖고 있다. 그러나 양국은 어느 한쪽이 재판권 포기 요청을 하면 ‘호의적으로 고려’(sympathetic consideration)해야 한다. 호의는 주로 한국이 베푼다. 미국은 2002년 장갑차 사고 때 재판권 포기를 거부했다. 반면 한국은 미국의 요청에 따라 자주 재판권을 포기하고 있다.

⊙사법주권 침해 조항 SOFA 22조 8항과 합의의사록 22조 9항은 미군 피고인이 1심에서 무죄를 받거나 피고인이 재판 결과에 대해 항소하지 않으면 한국 검찰은 이에 불복해 2심에 항소할 수 없다고 규정한다. 대표적인 사법주권 침해 조항으로 지적된다. NATO, 미-일 협정에는 존재하지 않는다.

⊙여전한 초동수사 장애 2001년 SOFA 개정 협상을 통해 살인 등 12개 중대 범죄에 한해 선고가 아닌 기소 시점에 미군의 신병을 인도받기로 정했다. 윤금이씨 사건 때와 달라진 점이다. 그러나 여러 단서 탓에 실제로는 잘 지켜지지 않는다. 미군 범죄의 상당수가 교통사고인데 피해자가 사망 등에 이르지 않는 한 중대 범죄에 포함되지 않는다. 중대 범죄라도 구금의 ‘상당한 이유와 필요’로 신병 인도 이유를 한정한다.

*참고 ‘주한미군범죄 근절 운동본부’ 누리집

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One comment

  1. I know there are many good american soliders who genuinely want to help S. Korea, but sadly, there are just as many bad american soldiers who want to just come to Korea to have sex with korean girls, make them pregnant, then leave. There are so many babies/children that were from US soldier and korean woman, but the father is never to be seen or found. Doesn’t that tell you something? Also, I think it is a bad idea to continue to allow US military colonization of Korea. They are building camps, then villages, then towns, soon cities. This way they can permanently stay rooted in Korea, bring in millions of more immigrants of US soldiers and families and friends to Korea and treat the country like they own it and is just another US property state.

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