Support our mission

The last of three airmen court-martialed for a vandalism spree that officials say strained relations with Japanese police was sentenced to 15 months in prison on Wednesday.

Airman 1st Class Michael T. Kerr — of the 35th Security Forces Squadron — pleaded guilty to conspiracy, failure to obey an order, housebreaking, obstruction of justice and damaging or destroying U.S. government property.

The judge, Col. Mark L. Allred, also ordered that Kerr, 20, be given a bad-conduct discharge, be reduced to the rank of E-1 and forfeit all pay and allowances.

The charges stemmed from two incidents earlier this year.

On Jan. 31, Kerr and Senior Airman Koby A. Torzillo did more than $70,000 worth of damage to the base golf course at Misawa, using golf carts, a snowmobile, tractor and backhoe to wreak havoc. Days later, they talked co-worker Airman 1st Class Jessie M. Holt into joining them in an off-base vandalism spree. They smashed car windows, damaged vending machines and broke into a local high school to steal various items.

Torzillo was court-martialed in May and sentenced to one year in jail, forfeiture of $933 per month during confinement, reduction to E-1 and a bad-conduct discharge. Holt was court-martialed earlier in July and was sentenced to 10 months in jail, reduction to E-1 and a bad-conduct discharge.

Maj. Dustin Sutton, Misawa’s Security Forces commander, testified Wednesday that the off-base vandalism strained relations with the Japanese National Police because the defendants were Security Forces members. He explained that a strong working relationship is vital to the security of the base, since the JNP patrol outside the gates.

The U.S. Air Force did not charge the airmen for alleged crimes committed off base, only for conspiring to vandalize the community and for the crimes that occurred on base.

A Japanese police spokesman declined to comment on the issue Wednesday, because the Japanese investigation into the case is ongoing.

Stripes in 7

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up