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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — A 10-member special court-martial panel found an Army sergeant guilty of assault Friday, sentencing him to reduction in rank and 30 days’ confinement.

But Sgt. John M. Miller, of Company C, 304th Signal Battalion, was acquitted of drunken driving and drunk and disorderly charges. Miller’s rank will be reduced to private first class.

Miller was arrested March 13 after a tussle with a male South Korean national identified only by the family name Yun outside Camp Casey’s gates in Tongduchon.

Yun claimed he was assaulted by an impatient Miller, who was trying to drive his car down an alley.

However, defense counsel Capt. James Culp outlined a scenario where an agitated Yun kicked Miller, unprovoked, while Miller hunted for his wallet in his car.

Yun said he didn’t want to press charges in South Korean court after Miller paid him around $800. However, government prosecutors pressed ahead with assault charges while also alleging Miller was driving drunk and combative with both South Korean and U.S. authorities after his arrest.

“Basically, the accused got mad,” said Capt. Mark Vetter during closing arguments. “He got mad at Korean drivers. He took it further. Mr. Yun did nothing to provoke this fight.”

A blood-alcohol test was not admitted in court after it was found military police didn’t contact Miller’s chain of command before drawing blood.

Miller apologized during an unsworn statement for punching Yun, saying he wanted to just get over the incident. “I honestly want to seriously apologize for my misconduct,” Miller told the panel of five officers and five enlisted soldiers.


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