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A bar fight at a U.S. air base in Japan has resulted in a former Arkansan facing charges of attempted manslaughter and assault in federal court in Little Rock.

On Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Beth Deere presided over a teleconferenced plea and arraignment in which Rodgrigo Pineda Gomez, formerly of Jacksonville, asked to be released until his Arkansas trial stemming from a Feb. 6 indictment handed up by a federal grand jury in Little Rock.

Gomez's wife is an Air Force major who is currently stationed in Japan, but who was stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville in 2014.

Because the Jacksonville address is considered Gomez's last-known stateside address, he is being prosecuted in the Eastern District of Arkansas in connection with a Dec. 31, 2016, fight in a restaurant on Misawa Air Base in Misawa, Japan. An indictment accuses him of using his fists to strike three other men, all United States citizens, in the face and head "upon a sudden quarrel and heat of passion" during a New Year's Eve celebration.

Gomez, who works for an American contractor in Japan, is currently in custody at Osan Air Base in South Korea. Federal prosecutors in Little Rock objected to him being released back to his home in Japan, which he shares with his wife and four children, saying his release could present a danger to the community and a risk that he will flee.

Deere told Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacy Williams that the offenses wouldn't normally warrant detaining someone until trial, and agreed with Assistant Federal Public Defender Molly Sullivan to allow Gomez's release. Deere noted that she had viewed a pretrial report about the charges -- attempted voluntary manslaughter and assault by striking, beating or wounding.

Meanwhile, Deere advised Gomez during a static-filled telephone connection that he should comply with the usual conditions of release such as staying away from anyone involved in the fight and any excessive drinking, and he should stay in contact with his pretrial officer.

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Metro on 02/16/2018

Print Headline: Ex-Arkansan charged over brawl in Japan

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