Five soldiers to face trial in Seoul Christmas taxi robbery
Stars and Stripes March 20, 2006
SEOUL — Five 2nd Infantry Division soldiers accused of beating and robbing a South Korean taxi driver on Christmas night will go on trial in Korean court Friday to answer charges, according to Uijeongbu court officials.
Each of the five soldiers faces a charge of assault and robbery, according to the court.
The soldiers are Pvt. Kidrem Cortez Porter, 21; Spc. Nicholas John Durkin; Pfc. John D. McCall Jr.; Pvt. Javon Joshua Reid; and Pfc. Ivey Nathaniel Westbrook. The ages of four of the soldiers were unavailable.
They all are members of the 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment and 1st Battalion, 38th Field Artillery Regiment.
The five are accused of plotting to rob a Uijeongbu taxi driver on Dec. 25, Korean prosecutors have said. Prosecutors say one soldier choked the taxi driver from the back seat while another hit the driver over the head with a bottle.
The soldiers took about $180 and a cell phone from the driver, then put the man in the trunk, prosecutors and the driver said. The driver escaped from the trunk and ran for help.
One of the soldiers, Porter, already had been convicted in a South Korean court on a prior robbery charge. At the time of the Christmas night robbery, Porter was being held under base restriction pending an appeal. Military officials have said he left base without authorization on the night of the robbery.
Porter lost his court appeal last week and now is serving an 18-month sentence in a South Korean jail. The four other soldiers are being held in U.S. custody.