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NAHA, Okinawa — One of two Marines sentenced by an appellate court to 4½ years in prison for conspiring to mug a Japanese man has appealed the ruling.

In April, Cpl. Joshua M. Major, 24, was handed a two-year prison sentence, suspended for three years, for his part in assaulting a 20-year-old Okinawa man and stealing his wallet in Ginowan on Oct. 23, 2003. Characterizing the sentence as unacceptably light, the prosecutor in the case argued that Major and co-defendant Cpl. Paul E. Mundell, 22, were equally responsible and had planned the attack. The prosecutor appealed the lower court’s decision.

Last month, the Fukuoka High Court in Naha reversed the lower court ruling, dismissing Major’s suspended sentence and giving him and Mundell each sentences of 4½ years in prison. Both Marines were assigned to the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing at Futenma Marine Corps Air Station.

Major’s attorney, Masanori Higa, appealed the ruling to the Japanese Supreme Court last week. He had contended that Major was too drunk to have planned the attack.

Miyatomi Harushima, the defense attorney for Mundell, said his client had until Thursday to file an appeal but probably would not.

The lower court originally had sentenced Mundell to 3½ years in prison. The three-judge panel had ruled that both took part in beating the victim but Major had no knowledge Mundell had stolen the man’s wallet, which contained 4,000 yen, or about $38.

However, the appeals court ruled the 5:55 a.m. crime was premeditated, accepting the prosecutor’s contention that the two Marines sought money to continue a drinking spree begun earlier in their barracks.


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