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NAHA, Okinawa — An airman who conspired with four teenagers to mug an Okinawa cabbie in March was sentenced Monday to three years in a Japanese prison, suspended for five years.

Senior Airman Darius A. Brunson, 22, dressed in a black suit, showed little emotion as the sentence was read in Naha District Court. Assigned to the 18th Security Forces Squadron on Kadena Air Base, he was released from Japanese custody following the hearing.

Capt. Israel King, who sat in on the hearing as a representative of the 18th Wing Staff Judge Advocate, said Brunson could still face administrative action by his unit.

Brunson previously pleaded guilty to assisting in the March 16 assault of a 55-year-old cab driver in Okinawa City. According to evidence, while Brunson and a 19-year-old military dependent waited in a car near the crime scene, three other teenage dependents attacked the driver from behind and took about $100 worth of yen and other items from the cab.

Brunson then drove the getaway car, according to statements. The plot to rob the cabbie was hatched at Brunson’s home on Kadena Air Base, where he allowed the teens to hang out.

The driver lost three days of work due to minor injuries.

Charges against three of the four teenagers, all aged 15 to 19 and sons of active-duty servicemembers, were dropped and the fourth has been placed on probation.

In sentencing Brunson, the judge said he was taking into account his young age, guilty plea and no previous convictions.

However, he said the crime was "deliberate, violent and outrageous" and he sternly lectured the airman not to "forget what you did."


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