TOKYO — A Japanese court on Friday sentenced a US Marine veteran to life in prison for the rape and murder of a 20-year-old woman on the southern island of Okinawa last year, Kyodo News agency reported.
The Naha District Court’s was in line with the prosecution which had called for a life sentence.
The defendant, Kenneth Franklin Shinzato, conceded the charges of rape resulting in the death and abandoning the body of the woman, but denied intent to murder, Kyodo reported.
According to the indictment, the then 32-year-old Marine vet assaulted the woman in the city of Uruma on the island on April 28, 2016 in order to rape her.
He killed the woman after stabbing her in the neck with a knife and struck her on the head with a bar, the report said.
In his last statement during the trial, Shinzato said, “I did not intend to cause such a result,” according to Kyodo.
The case stirred strong feelings among Okinawans, who have long been critical of the US military’s presence on the island and crimes and accidents involving US troops.
Around half of the 50,000 US military personnel in Japan are stationed on Okinawa, 1,600 kilometers south-west of Tokyo, which is less than 1 per ent of the country’s total land mass.
In another high-profile case, three US servicemen in Okinawa raped a 12-year-old schoolgirl in 1995.
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