Former Marine indicted in cabbie robbery on Okinawa
NAHA, Okinawa — A former Marine accused of attacking an Okinawa cab driver on Jan. 12 in Okinawa City has been indicted on a charge of robbery.
In an unrelated case, Okinawa police say two servicemembers being held by Marines in the Jan. 7 robbery of a cab driver on Camp Foster have been interrogated by prefectural police, who say the pair admitted the crime.
A spokesman for the Naha District Prosecutor’s Office on Monday said Errol Jackson, 23, a former Marine, was indicted late Thursday on a single charge of committing a robbery involving an injury. Under Japanese law, he faces a minimum sentence of five years at hard labor in a Japanese prison.
No trial date has been set for Jackson, who allegedly admitted to punching the cab driver in the back of the head in a residential area of Okinawa City and stealing about $65.80 worth of Japanese coins. Okinawa police said he told investigators that he committed the crime under the misunderstanding that his arrest would earn him automatic repatriation to the United States.
Jackson has been in Okinawa police custody since his arrest, which occurred less than a month after he was discharged from the Marine Corps after serving a sentence in the Camp Hansen brig on convictions of unauthorized absence and larceny.
According to Marines and police, he was escorted under guard back to the United States, but returned to Okinawa later to be with his wife. An Okinawa police spokesman said Jackson had an argument with his wife the night he was arrested for the taxi robbery.
In the Jan. 7 Camp Foster case, police in Ginowan on Monday said they interrogated the two suspects over the weekend.
“The suspects told investigators that they conspired to commit the crime and split the money,” a police spokesman said. “One of the suspects came out of the barracks building and walked toward a bush, passing the taxi from behind and motioning the driver over.”
The 61-year-old cab driver reported that the person who approached his cab displayed a knife and demanded he exit the car. He said he gave the robber a box containing about 5,000 yen ($44) and $5 in U.S. currency. The robber then walked toward the rear of the building.
The driver was not injured.
“The second suspect had helped the first suspect to get out of one of the barracks rooms on the first floor through a rear window,” the police spokesman said. “That way, he could leave the barracks without being seen by a duty officer there.”
Marine officials would not identify the suspects, who were apprehended by Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents the last week of January, or identify their service affiliation. They announced they would retain custody of the two until they are indicted in a Japanese court.
Okinawa police have not decided when they will send the case to the Naha District Public Prosecutor’s Office for indictment.
Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.