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PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — An airman convicted of punching a fellow airman in the eye at Kunsan Air Base last Christmas was sentenced Friday to demotion, loss of pay, jail time and a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force, base officials said.

Senior Airman Gerald A. Covington, a firefighter with the 8th Civil Engineer Squadron, was sentenced to reduction to the military’s lowest pay grade, E-1, forfeiture of $849 per month for three months, three months in prison and the discharge.

Air Force Col. Steven A. Hatfield sentenced Covington after a six-member jury of Air Force officers on Thursday found the airman guilty of assault consummated by a battery and of making a false official statement. Hatfield is chief judge for the 6th Judicial Circuit, out of Yokota Air Base, Japan.

Covington had pleaded not guilty to the charges, which stemmed from an incident during the early hours of Christmas Day 2005 at Kunsan’s Loring Club. Prosecutors accused Covington of punching a fellow airman in the eye without provocation. That led to the assault charge.

The injured airman was taken to the base medical clinic, treated, then released. Covington later lied about his involvement in the incident when questioned by an Air Force lawyer investigating the case. That brought the charge of making a false official statement.

Covington was to be transported Friday afternoon to the U.S. military’s jail at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek.

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