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SEOUL — A U.S. Army soldier accused of attempted murder pleaded innocent during an arraignment Wednesday in South Korean court, saying the incident occurred in his own self-defense.

Pfc. John C. Humphreys, 21, is accused of stabbing a South Korean civilian during an apparent altercation in May. Earlier this month, Humphreys became just the second soldier held in pretrial confinement under 2001 changes to the U.S.-South Korean status of forces agreement.

Humphreys, of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment, was handed over to South Korean custody in early August; prosecutors charged him with one count of attempted murder.

According to police and prosecutors, witnesses will testify that Humphreys stabbed the man, identified only as a 27-year-old named Park, after Park tried to intervene in an early-morning public disturbance.

The trial is taking place in Seoul District Court.

After the stabbing, 8th Army officials expressed regret for the incident and promised full cooperation in the investigation. Police officials said four other U.S. soldiers and a South Korean soldier assigned to a U.S. Army unit also were investigated in the case. No further charges were filed.

U.S. military officials declined to say whether the other soldiers received non-judicial punishments.


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