Marine admits to punching Tokyo taxi driver after ditching cab fare
By CAITLIN DOORNBOS AND HANA KUSUMOTO | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 30, 2019
TOKYO — A 21-year-old Marine who punched a taxi driver in Shinjuku in May pleaded guilty Tuesday in Tokyo District Court to a charge of bodily injury.
Lance Cpl. Kahsai Tyree Hill, assigned to 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, admitted to punching a 24-year-old taxi driver in the face on May 25, which left a bruise that required “two weeks medical treatment,” according to prosecutors.
When the judge asked Hill through an interpreter whether the allegations in the charge were accurate, Hill said, “I believe everything to be true.”
Prosecutors said the incident happened while Hill was sightseeing in Tokyo with fellow Marines. Though his regiment is based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Hill was residing at Marine Corps Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji, which regularly hosts stateside Marines for training exercises.
Hill and his friends spent the evening of May 24 eating and drinking in Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward until 11:30 p.m., when the group returned to their Tokyo hotel, prosecutors said in court Tuesday. But Hill later left the hotel to walk around Shinjuku.
U.S. Forces Japan imposes a 1-5 a.m. curfew on all servicemembers grades E-5 and below.
About 5:40 a.m., Hill became lost, according to prosecutors. That’s when he got in the taxi, but the driver did not understand where Hill wanted to be taken. He then took Hill to the Shinjuku Washington Hotel, which was not where Hill was staying.
There, Hill got out of the cab without paying his $7.40 fare, and the driver parked his car and chased after him saying, “Money, please,” prosecutors said. When Hill saw him approach, he punched the driver on the left side of his face and left the scene. The driver then called police.
Hill sat in his jail-issued white T-shirt and gray sweatpants throughout the court proceedings — his first since his May arrest. He clasped his hands in his lap, listening intently to the court translator while seated in the defendant’s chair.
Prosecutors on Tuesday said they are considering three additional charges against Hill. Police allege that he harmed other people while fleeing the scene of the attack on the taxi driver.
On July 4, Tokyo Metropolitan Police also recommended Hill be charged with attempted murder of a 19-year-old female Japan Self-Defense Force official inside a Shibuya restaurant, a police spokeswoman told Stars and Stripes at the time. The rules of her job do not allow the spokeswoman to be named.
Police accused Hill of putting his right arm around the JSDF servicemember’s neck and squeezing until she fainted, fell to the floor and broke a bone in her face, the spokeswoman said. Police allege Hill attacked the woman after the earlier assaults.
Hill was not sentenced Tuesday on the bodily injury charge. He is due back in court on Sept. 26.
Hill’s lawyer declined to comment on the case.