PYONGTAEK, South Korea — A pretrial hearing in the Army’s case against a soldier accused in the fatal stabbing of a sergeant last month began Thursday in Taegu and was set to resume Friday morning, officials said.

The Army has charged Pfc. Gregory David Robertson, 24, with murder in the Feb. 19 death of Sgt. Kenneth Lamond Kelly, who was stabbed in a barracks room at Camp Carroll in Waegwan and died a short time later at the base medical clinic.

According to a military police blotter report of the incident, Robertson admitted to investigators that he stabbed Kelly but said he acted in self-defense.

The Article 32 hearing opened Thursday morning at Camp Henry, said Maj. David Doherty, spokesman for the 19th Theater Support Command at Camp Henry.

Kelly, an Iraq-war veteran and the father of a 9-year-old son, was a supply sergeant with the 293rd Signal Company at Camp Carroll. He was from Goldsboro, N.C. Robertson, who had been in pretrial confinement at Camp Humphreys pending Thursday’s hearing, is a computer graphics designer with the 20th Area Support Group at Camp Henry.

Doherty identified the investigative officer in the Article 32 proceeding as Lt. Col. Christopher Rollins of the 55th Theater Materiel Management Center.

The lawyers for the prosecution were Capt. David Lewen and Capt. Trevor Barna, both of the 19th TSC’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Doherty said.

Robertson’s defense lawyers were Capt. James Culp and Capt. Pia Rogers, both of the U.S. Army Trial Defense Service, Doherty said.

According to a police blotter report on the incident, the fatal episode ensued when Kelly showed up outside the barracks room of a female named Collins. Robertson was there visiting.

The Army has not provided further identification or details about Collins, saying only that she has not been charged in the case.

Kelly, according to the report, began banging on the barracks room door, demanding entry, and Collins let him in. Kelly, the report states, attacked both Collins and Robertson.

Robertson was quoted in the report as saying he drew a knife in self-defense, not intending to stab Kelly. But, the report continued, Robertson said, “during the course of the struggle,” he “drew a butterfly knife (locking blade) and stabbed Kelly, who then began to walk away and collapsed.”

Kelly’s unit held a memorial service for him at the Camp Carroll chapel Feb. 25.

How it works ...

In an Article 32 Investigation Process, the investigating officer conducts hearings. While the Article 32 process is often called the military’s counterpart to the civilian grand jury, it provides the accused soldier with procedural rights not found in grand jury proceedings:

The accused is also afforded legal representation.He or she may attend and present any information he or she deems important for consideration.Testimony, documents and other evidence considered by the investigating officer is available to the defense.The defense may cross-examine all witnesses.After the hearings, the investigating officer is required to report his findings and make a recommendation as to the disposition of the charges to the convening authority, senior officers who ordered the hearing. A copy of the report and recommendations is provided to the accused.

The recommendation from the investigating officer is not necessarily binding.

— Stars and Stripes

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now