NAHA, Okinawa — An airman was indicted in a Japanese court Thursday for his alleged participation in the beating and robbery of an Okinawa cab driver March 16.

Airman 1st Class Darius Antowann Brunson, 22, assigned to the 18th Security Forces Squadron on Kadena Air Base, faces robbery and assault charges. He was transferred to Japanese police custody Thursday and is being held in the Naha Detention Center. No trial date has been set.

According to the charge, Brunson allegedly conspired with four teens, ages 15 to 19 and all sons of active-duty servicemembers, to rob a 55-year-old cab driver shortly after midnight in a popular entertainment district in Okinawa City.

They allegedly attacked the driver as he opened the trunk of his car and stole a coin box containing about 6,000 yen (about $60) and other items valued at 3,390 yen (about $34).

Okinawa police contend Brunson was at the scene and drove the getaway car. The teens told investigators that Brunson allowed them to hang out at his home on Kadena Air Base, where they allegedly planned the crime.

The driver suffered bruises on his head and thigh, according to the police report. According to earlier police statements, Brunson admitted that he was at the scene during the robbery took place, but denied playing a major role.

Meanwhile, Japanese prosecutors sent charges of assault and theft against a 19-year-old co-defendant to a family court. Charges against three other teens were not sought and they were handed over to military authorities, where they face action that could include being barred from military bases or sent back to the United States.

Charges recommended in alleged ’06 taxi robbery

OKINAWA CITY, Okinawa — Okinawa police Friday recommended to the Naha District Public Prosecutor’s Office that charges of robbery resulting in bodily injury be filed against two Marines in connection with a July 2006 taxi robbery, Okinawa police said.

Pvt. Edward L. Miller Jr., then 20, and another private who was 19 years old at the time, are accused of attacking a 64-year-old cab driver in his taxi and fleeing with about $730 in cash July 4, 2006, in Okinawa City.

The 19-year-old, who is now 21, was not named because he was considered a minor at the time the alleged crime took place, a police spokesman said.

In September 2006, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service offered a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects involved.

It was not immediately known when the suspects were identified by military authorities.

The Okinawa police spokesman said that both admitted guilt. The Marines will remain in military custody until formal charges are filed by the Naha prosecutor’s office, he said.

From staff reports

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