Japanese prosecutors charge sailor with murder
January 29, 2006
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Japanese prosecutors Friday formally charged U.S. Navy Airman William Oliver Reese, 21, with the robbery and beating death of a Yokosuka woman earlier this month.
After 20 days in Japanese custody, Reese was indicted on a charge of murder on the occasion of robbery as the primary suspect in the Jan. 3 killing of Yoshie Sato, 56.
The Yokohama District Prosecutors Office also released its findings of fact, which indicate the course of events that allegedly occurred that morning.
Reese, an E-3 airman on the USS Kitty Hawk, “decided to rob” Sato as she was on her way to work around 6:30 a.m., according to a press release from the office. When Sato resisted, Reese punched her and dragged her into a building near Yokosuka Chuo train station, it alleged.
Reese lifted Sato by the collar, threw her body against a corner of a concrete wall and “stomped on her stomach” after she fell, the release alleged.
Reese removed 15,000 yen (about $130) from Sato’s wallet and left, the report alleged. The trauma ruptured Sato’s right kidney and liver and caused her to bleed to death later that day at a Yokosuka hospital.
The Navy first took custody of Reese then handed him over to Japanese authorities under the provisions of the Status of Forces Agreement and the 1995 and 2004 Joint Committee Agreements on Criminal Jurisdiction Procedures.
The Navy has yet to receive a copy of the indictment and couldn’t address Friday’s proceedings, said Jon Nylander, spokesman for Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan.
“Unless we receive official notification, we can’t say anything,” Nylander said.
Yokohama District Court will schedule a trial date in the near future.