Court accepts DNA evidence in Okinawa rape case
NAHA, Okinawa — A three-judge panel in Naha District Court on Tuesday announced it was satisfied DNA taken from semen collected at a Chatan rape scene in August 2004 matched DNA extracted from the saliva of rape suspect Dag Allen Thompson.
The ruling came during a brief hearing in the trial of Thompson, 35, a former Marine and employee of Exchange New Car Sales on Kadena Air Base. He is charged with breaking into the home of a 21-year-old woman in Chatan on Aug. 22, 2004, and raping her.
He also is charged with a June 1998 burglary and rape in Naha. Prosecutors claim DNA samples taken from semen collected at that rape scene also match his DNA. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Thompson has been incarcerated since his arrest in October 2004. Since his trial began in January he has refused to answer most questions put to him by prosecutors and judges. He maintains a statement he signed just after his arrest, in which he admitted to entering the Chatan woman’s home without permission and fondling her while she slept, was given under duress and was false.
Wearing dark gray slacks, a white dress shirt, striped tie and white socks with brown plastic jail-issue slippers, Thompson was led into the courtroom with his hands cuffed and connected to a rope wrapped around his waist. He gave a brief nod to his Okinawan wife, who sat alone at the rear of the court.
It was his only sign of emotion during the 30-minute session.
At one point, when the prosecutor asked about Thompson’s employment at the time of the June 1998 rape case, Thompson steadfastly refused to answer.
“I wish to remain silent,” he said. Prosecutor Masahisa Yokota had indicated he was trying to establish that Thompson was not covered by the bilateral status of forces agreement until July 1998, weeks after the June 1998 rape. Lead defense attorney Toshimitsu Takaesu contends that the 1998 case should be dismissed because U.S. military officials were not properly notified Thompson was charged with that incident.
Takaesu previously argued that the prosecutor failed to notify U.S. authorities he intended to take jurisdiction of the 1998 case, as required under the current SOFA. Takaesu said Thompson was employed by Exchange New Car Sales at the time.
Yokota claims the crime was committed before Thompson was employed on base.
The trial’s next session is scheduled for Jan. 18. the prosecution is expected to make closing arguments on Jan. 24; the defense, on Feb. 9.