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UIJEONGBU, South Korea — Prosecutors asked Friday for sentences ranging from three to seven years in prison for the five 2nd Infantry Division soldiers accused of robbing a taxi driver on Christmas and stuffing him in his car trunk.

Pvt. Kidrem Cortez Porter, 21, was most responsible and deserves seven years in prison, said prosecutor Chu Hae-yun. Porter already has been sentenced to 1½ years in prison for his role in a March 2005 robbery.

“I deeply regret this, but I alone did not cause this to happen,” Porter told the three-judge panel at the Uijeongbu courthouse. “I know that I should be punished … but you should use your wisdom to decide a fitting punishment.”

According to testimony from other accused soldiers, Porter first suggested the idea of robbing a taxi driver. He later cracked a beer bottle over the driver’s head, according to testimony.

When questioned by his attorney, Porter said he drank six glasses of liquor and three beers before meeting up with the other soldiers.

Before 10 p.m. on Christmas night, defendant Spc. Nicholas John Durkin, 21, said he visited co-defendant Pfc. John D. McCall Jr., 21, in his barracks room. McCall was drinking with Porter and co-defendants Pvt. Javon Joshua Reid, 20, and Spc. Ivey Nathaniel Westbrook, 21, according to testimony.

Durkin said Porter suggested the robbery, but he didn’t take him seriously.

Westbrook denied they had planned roles for each soldier in the attack, as the prosecution contends.

“Everybody was totally out of it,” Westbrook said. “When we planned it, it wasn’t really like it was serious.”

The soldiers met up at Uijeongbu Station to catch a taxi, with Westbrook toting a bag of bottled beer, Porter said.

Porter was drinking one of those beers when the five hailed a taxi, and one of the soldiers asked the driver to go to Camp Stanley.

Thinking they instead should have been going to Hongdae, a Seoul area off-limits to servicemembers, Porter said he got angry. When McCall asked to get out of the cab to urinate, Porter says he hit the taxi driver with the bottle. The soldiers then stole $180, with Reid getting at least some of that money from Westbrook, Reid said.

Durkin said he came along only to avoid getting harassed later, and he said he was hiding behind a nearby house while the driver was hit and robbed.

Reid said Westbrook and Porter stuffed the driver in the trunk, but when questioned in court they either denied involvement or declined to answer to the action.

McCall drove the cab around afterward. The five suspects fled to Uijeongbu Station, where police gave chase.

Durkin, McCall and Reid escaped, according to testimony. The three later reached a settlement with the taxi driver, agreeing to pay him 12 million won ($12,000) for his suffering. Partially because of the settlement, Chu asked that they receive five years in prison.

Porter and Westbrook said they arranged separate settlements. Because of Westbrook’s cooperation, Chu asked that he receive three years in prison.

Verdicts and possible sentencings are scheduled for May 2.

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