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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The former Marine being held on suspicion of robbing an Okinawan cab driver on Jan. 12 is no stranger to a jail cell.

Marine officials said Wednesday that former Marine Erroll S. Jackson, 23, had spent most of 2005 confined to Camp Hansen’s brig. Jackson was found guilty during a Feb. 8, 2005, general court-martial on two specifications of unauthorized absence and three specifications of larceny, officials said. He was given a bad-conduct discharge and sentenced to four years confinement, reduction in rank to private and forfeiture of all pay and allowances.

A pretrial agreement, however, suspended all confinement in excess of 18 months, officials said. On Sept. 19, 2005, the convening authority in Jackson’s case ordered that the bad-conduct discharge be executed. Officials said Jackson later was released from confinement and physically escorted back to the U.S., where he arrived on Dec. 20, 2005. His bad-conduct discharge was effective Dec. 22, 2005, officials said.

Okinawa prefectural police initially reported that Jackson said he was discharged from the Marine Corps in December and remained on Okinawa on a tourist visa. Marine officials, however, have stressed that Jackson, who is married to an Okinawan woman, was taken back to the U.S. after his release from the brig and returned to the island on his own.

Jackson remained under police custody in Okinawa City as of Wednesday but has yet to be charged. Under Japanese law, prosecutors have until Monday to file charges. Jackson is accused of hailing a cab in Okinawa City’s Chuo district in the early-morning hours of Jan. 12, then robbing the driver. According to an Okinawa police spokesman, Jackson confessed to committing the crime, thinking he would be deported back to the United States for the act.

“He told police that he was in despair after having a quarrel Wednesday evening (Jan. 11) with his wife and committed the robbery thinking that it would be all right if he was repatriated,” the spokesman stated soon after Jackson’s most recent arrest.

According to the police spokesman, Jackson hailed and entered the cab, reached over the seat, grabbed the driver with one arm and punched him in the head with the other. The driver escaped. When he returned to the cab with police, Jackson and a coin box with about 7,500 yen (about $65.80) were gone.

The 55-year-old driver suffered bruises and scratches on his head, the Okinawa police spokesman stated.

Jackson was taken into custody later the morning of Jan. 12 when police spotted him at a vending machine. The spokesman said Jackson possessed a large amount of Japanese coins when apprehended and later confessed to the crime during questioning.

Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.


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