SEOUL — A South Korean court is checking whether it can subpoena U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command and FBI agents to testify in the trial of an American woman.

During a second hearing in the trial of Kenzi Noris Elizabeth Snider, Chief Judge Kim Nam-tae said it would be the first time South Korea has compelled someone from another country to testify.

One FBI agent — who acts as a diplomat — is stationed in Seoul at the U.S. Embassy, said spokeswoman Maureen Cormack, adding that the embassy will accommodate requests by the court. The CID agent — who served a tour in South Korea — has returned to the United States.

Both questioned Snider in February 2002 in Huntington, W.Va., where she allegedly confessed to killing Jamie Lynn Penich, 20, of Derry Township, Pa. Penich died after a brutal beating that broke her jaw, knocked her teeth out and left footprints on her chest in an Itaewon motel in March 2001.

Snider, 21, is charged with unintentionally injuring a person resulting in death and faces a maximum of 15 years in prison. Snider and Penich were exchange students at Keimyung University in Taegu and had traveled to Seoul for sightseeing the weekend Penich was killed.

Snider’s attorney, Om Sang-ik, said after the hearing that if the agents do not testify, there’s a chance the confession could be thrown out. During her first appearance in court, Snider said it was coerced.

She claimed to be a “scapegoat” and said that U.S. soldiers who hung out with Penich the night she was killed are responsible. South Korean police and U.S Army investigators questioned and cleared at least five soldiers in the investigation.

Snider was extradited to South Korea in December 2002. Based on three days of interviews with Snider, FBI extradition papers filed by the U.S. District Attorney’s Office in Charleston, allege Snider became angry after Penich made sexual advances toward her.

An investigation by Seoul prosecutors produced a different theory: Snider became angry at Penich’s advances because she was sexually abused by her brother’s friends when she was 4 years old, a statement said.

Snider confirmed the abuse during a previous hearing but denied killing Penich.

No physical evidence was found linking U.S. soldiers to the crime, and none has been released pointing to Snider as the killer.

Korean police originally released a drawing of a short- haired white male as a suspect, based on the motel owner’s description. Police said the killer wore size 9 or 10 Skechers-brand shoes.

— Choe Song-won contributed to this report.

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