Okinawa Marine pleads guilty in mugging case
NAHA, Okinawa — A 19-year-old Marine pleaded guilty in Naha District Court on Tuesday to taking part in a May 2 mugging in Okinawa City.
Pvt. 1st Class Jake Boyer, assigned to Headquarters and Service Battalion, Camp Foster, said during a brief hearing that he was with another Marine, Lance Cpl. Michael Enriquez, 21, during a strong-arm robbery in an alley in the Uechi district of the city, a popular bar and disco district near Kadena Air Base.
The Marines were charged with attacking Tetsuya Tanaka, 19, at 12:40 a.m.
Naha District Court prosecutor Tsuyoshi Satake asked for a five-year prison sentence for Enriquez, who entered a guilty plea at an earlier hearing. Enriquez will be sentenced Aug. 6.
Satake will make a sentencing recommendation for Boyer at his next hearing, set for Sept. 10.
Satake said Boyer and Enriquez punched Tanaka in the face and knocked him to the ground, kicking him in the head and back. They then took 500 yen, about $4, from him and stole a bandana worth about $8, Satake said.
Boyer’s trial was delayed because he was at first treated as a minor. Japanese law considers a person a minor until age 20. The Naha Family Court forwarded the case to the district court in June.
Satake said Boyer and Enriquez had been drinking the night they attacked Tanaka. According to statements made by Boyer, the pair plotted to mug someone as a way to let off steam. They had been frustrated that night by an argument they had with the owner of a liquor store and a run-in they had with some fellow Marines, Satake said.
Boyer also told investigators that they had been treated unpleasantly at a bar just prior to the incident, Satake said.
Enriquez was arrested the next evening when he appeared at another Uechi district bar.
Enriquez implicated Boyer, Satake said.
The prosecutor said Tanaka wanted Boyer to be punished severely.
“He experienced the fear of near-death by the sudden and unprovoked attack by total strangers,” he said. He said Tanaka was badly bruised in the assault.