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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A Marine convicted of the brutal bludgeoning death of his 24-year-old Japanese girlfriend on Okinawa in 1995 is on his way home.

Joshua Hill was a 20-year-old private first class in January 1996 when he was sentenced to 11 years of hard labor in a Japanese prison for killing Kanako Kinjo, an insurance saleswoman, outside her Ginowan apartment the previous May. He pleaded guilty but provided no apology or explanation for striking her in the face and head more than 20 times with a hammer.

The woman bled to death. Her mother testified that the beating was so intense that she could not recognize her daughter.

Hill, of Youngstown, Ohio, was turned over to Marine officials and flown to California on Monday, where he would be processed out of the service.

“In December 1995, it was decided that Pfc. Hill would be administratively separated from the Marine Corps with an other-than-honorable discharge by reason of misconduct due to the commission of a serious offense,” said Gunnery Sgt. Chuck Albrecht, a Marine spokesman. “The execution of the separation will occur after he is released from prison and transferred to Separations Company, Camp Pendleton, Calif.”

Hill served his sentence in Tokyo’s Fuchu Prison, where prisoners earn about 1,000-3,000 yen ($8.60 to $25.90) per month assembling cell phones and auto parts for private Japanese companies, according to Michael Griffith, a New York-based lawyer who specializes in representing Americans overseas.

At the time of sentencing, the chief Japanese judge said Hill never adequately expressed remorse or gave a reasonable explanation for the crime.

The only comment Hill made during the trial was that he had just snapped and attacked the woman with the hammer.

“I’m not sure what was going through my mind,” he said.

Still, the sentence was relatively light due to the fact that Hill was so young and had no criminal record, the judge announced.

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