One-year sentence sought for airman who punched Okinawa teen
Stars and Stripes
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Japanese prosecutors requested a one-year sentence Thursday for a U.S. airman for drunkenly barging into an Okinawa apartment in November, punching a teen in the face and damaging a television before falling from a third-floor window.
Senior Airman Matthew L. Haist, 24, who is stationed on Kadena Air Base, had already pleaded guilty to charges of inflicting bodily injury and vandalism for the incident northwest of the base in the island’s Yomitan district. His defense attorney said Haist apologized and asked that he only be fined. Sentencing is scheduled for March 13.
The home invasion was among a string of U.S. military off-duty crimes in Japan, including the alleged gang rape of an Okinawan woman by two U.S. sailors on a street outside Kadena in October, that enflamed public sentiment and led to a Japan-wide nighttime curfew, which was finally relaxed for some servicemembers on the mainland this week.
Haist is accused of drinking heavily in a bar near his home on Nov. 2, in violation of the 11 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew that was imposed after the alleged rape. He allegedly entered an apartment in the building where he hit the sleeping teen, who needed medical treatment for his injuries, according to Japanese prosecutors.