April 26, 2011 Pohnpei, FSM-According to a news report of the "Stars and Stripes," an online news service that delivers news of interest to US armed forces personnel, a U.S. Army soldier was sentenced in Uijeongbu, South Korea on Friday, April 22 for breaking into a home in late February and assaulting an elderly Korean couple.
U.S. Army Private Lloyd Daniel, who is 19 years old, was inducted into the U.S. Army on June 17, 2010, along with 21 other recruits from Pohnpei and seven others from Kosrae in a ceremony held at the U.S. Embassy to the FSM in Pohnpei.
Unless he appeals his case and wins any appeal, Daniel will spend the next seven years in a Uijeongbu prison for breaking into the Camp Casey area home in Dongducheon on February 26. After he broke into the home he beat the elderly couple with a piece of lumber and attempted to rape the 63 year old woman.
The couple spent several weeks in the hospital before they were released earlier this month. The woman's injuries included a broken nose. The 70 year old man suffered facial fractures of the skull around the eye that may require additional surgery, police told Stars and Stripes reporters.
Daniel was drunk at the time of the attack. US military rules do not allow a person under the age of 21 to consume alcohol.
Daniel stole the woman's cell phone before he left the couple's house and also dropped his wallet and identification card near the home when he fled. He was caught and arrested by South Korean police a few hours later. When police took him into custody he had blood on his socks and shoes.
Daniel was charged with attempted robbery and rape, robbery, injury resulting from attempted rape, and bodily injury resulting from robber and larceny, American and South Korean officials told the Stars and Stripes reporters.
He was tried by a panel of three judges of the Uijeongbu District Court. Before handing down the sentence Chief Judge Park In-sik told Daniel that he would not be given any harsher treatment than would Korean defendant charged with the same crimes.
"This kind of crime is very serious in Korea," the judge said. "(I know) this kind of crime is also very serious in your country," Stars and Stripes reported In-sik as having said.
Uijeongbu District Court officials said that Daniel admitted to committing the crime at a previous court hearing. Based on that admission along with the evidence and the statements of the victims the three judge panel found him guilty of all charges.
A US military blogger in South Korea who follows the activities of the military in the area said "One thing that Stars and Stripes did not mention is that in Uijeongbu District Court on 16 February 2011, PV Lloyd A. Daniel, C Troop, 4/7th Cavalry, USAG-Casey, was convicted of 'intrusion upon a human habitation.' His adjudged sentence was a 500,000 Won fine which is roughly about $450.00."
The U.S. military made a payment to the couple to cover medical expenses, Lt. Colonel Joseph Scrocca, a 2nd Infantry Division spokesman told Stars and Stripes reporters. He declined to release the amount of that payment "out of respect for the family's wishes to keep all matters involving them private."
After Daniel was charged in March Scrocca said that the military was not conducting a separate investigation into the incident.
Scrocca said that any U.S military action against Daniel will have to wait until after the final disposition of his South Korean criminal court proceedings. He said that Daniel would continue on active duty without pay while he is incarcerated and then be discharged from the service upon his release.
Amy Delyla Ulm, current World Teach Coordinator in Pohnpei was one of Daniel's teachers at PICS High School. Daniel was in her English 12 class last year during his senior year at the High School. Ulm sucked breath when she heard the news. "No," she exclaimed! "I can't imagine it! I don't always remember all of my students but I remember him really well," she said. "He was always bright, and friendly and charismatic. He was always happy!"
When Tony Azios, a fellow World Teach volunteer was preparing to write an article for the Christian Science Monitor, Ulm suggested that Azios interview Daniel. He was the only recruit Azios interviewed for that article. "In our interview at PICS, Lloyd came off as nothing but kind, sincere, and gentle. He was surrounded by friends, and he came off as confident and determined to use the military as a career stepping stone," Azios wrote in an email.
Azios wrote about that "career stepping stone" motivation in the Christian Science Monitor article that appeared on May 5, 2010. He said that Daniel felt a sense of debt to America, "The US has been here helping out our island in many ways, so I feel that we, as Micronesians, must return the favor."