GIs tell S. Korean trial judge they regret off-base assaults
UIJEONGBU, South Korea — Two U.S. soldiers told a Uijeongbu judge Wednesday that they regretted being involved in off-base assaults involving South Korean residents.
Pfc. Taylan Laurence Bohman and Pfc. Nicholas Acosta, both 2nd Infantry Division soldiers, apologized for the unrelated incidents during separate trials Wednesday in the Uijeongbu District Court.
The soldiers are due back in court Sept. 13 for sentencing. U.S. Army officials, however, have requested that their defense attorney, Jin Hyo-keun, seek new translators after Bohman and Acosta complained they have been unable to understand what’s happening during their trials.
Bohman is charged with assault in connection with his attempt to visit his girlfriend at a bar that hadn’t opened yet for the evening. He admitted in court to pushing the bar owner after the owner grabbed him, and to running from the scene.
Officials said at least one of the 10 Korean men who gave chase was injured trying to catch Bohman.
Bohman testified that he didn’t remember whether the men hit him when they finally dragged him to the ground.
“I don’t have a solid memory,” he said. “I don’t know for sure if they hit me.”
He admitted biting one man to prevent the man from hitting him.
“I was just trying to get away,” he told the judge.
The prosecution asked the judge for a one-year prison sentence for Bohman.
Acosta is charged with assault, illegal use of a vehicle, property damage, drunken driving and driving without a license in connection with an April 15 fight outside a Dongducheon bar. Prosecutors are seeking an 18-month jail sentence.
“I’m sorry that it happened,” Acosta told the court. “I wish I could take it back. I just want to move on with my career.”
Acosta has paid more than $9,000 in settlements to South Koreans involved with the case, while Bohman has paid more than $18,000. Financial settlements are a common practice in the Korean justice system and usually lessen potential sentences.