Japanese police retain custody of two Marines
January 17, 2004
Iwakuni prosecutors are reviewing whether to indict two Marines in Japanese police custody in connection with separate incidents.
Prosecutors haven’t decided because both cases still “are being investigated,” a prosecutor’s office spokesman said Thursday.
Master Gunnery Sgt. Constance S. Dillard, a spokeswoman for Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station, where both Marines are stationed, said, no charges have been filed in either case.
Officials said the two cases, plus a third also involving an Iwakuni Marine, contributed to the the base commander’s decision earlier this week to slap a tough curfew on all servicemembers at the air station.
Lance Cpl. Lester E. Son, 20, was arrested at 1:50 a.m. Tuesday and charged Wednesday. Son, with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, is accused of entering a 52-year-old restaurant owner’s home and stealing 18 items valued at $2,200, said a base statement released Wednesday. Son was caught and subdued by a local resident, then arrested by police
Sunday, Cpl. Todd M. Heaney, 25, from Marine Aircraft Logistics Squadron 12, was arrested. He was charged Monday, accused of the Sept. 28, 2003, theft of $4,700 in car parts from an automobile dealership in the city, a city police spokesman said.
Police said a second Iwakuni Marine was involved. They said he and Heaney admitted the theft, but police would not name the other Marine.
Air station officials have declined to discuss whether another Marine may be under investigation in the auto parts theft. “No additional USMC personnel have been arrested,” Dillard said late Thursday. “This investigation remains active and we still cannot comment.”
City police investigators said Heaney and the other Marine told them they stole items including a driver’s and passenger’s seat, transmission shifting lever, steering wheel, center console and cup holder.
The other Marine is not in police custody “because we do not have enough evidence for him to be arrested,” despite his admission of guilt, a city police spokesman said. Japanese prosecutors can hold suspects for up to 21 days without having to charge them, the prosecutor’s spokesman said.
In both instances, “The USMC and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service continue to cooperate with Japanese authorities,” Dillard added.
Pfc. William E. McIntosh, 22, of Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, began trial Thursday on charges of attempted rape resulting in bodily injury.
After the three arrests, base commander Col. David Darrah issued a strict 10 p.m. -5 a.m. liberty curfew order on Tuesday that applies to all servicemembers stationed in Iwakuni.
— Hana Kusumoto contributed to this report.