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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A Marine lance corporal was sentenced to 10 months in the brig and a bad-conduct discharge Tuesday for an unprovoked attack Aug. 4 that sent a soldier to the hospital with a broken jaw, a broken nose, a fractured sinus bone and a brain contusion.

Lance Cpl. Tevita Taufa pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, assault and battery, drunk and disorderly conduct, and violating a midnight curfew. Under the terms of a pretrial agreement, a more serious charge of maiming was dismissed.

Also under terms of the agreement, the judge’s sentence of 28 months of confinement was limited to 10 months, with the rest suspended. Taufa will be credited with the 128 days he spent in the brig since his arrest Aug. 4.

Taufa also was reduced in rank to E-1 and must forfeit all pay and allowances.

Two other Marines pleaded guilty to similar charges in the attack during courts-martial held Nov. 30. Cpl. David Dukevares was sentenced to 350 days of confinement and a bad-conduct discharge. Cpl. Dwayne T. Ortiz was sentenced to 24 months of confinement and a bad-conduct discharge.

According to testimony, Taufa set out with Dukevares and Ortiz Aug. 3 looking for a fight and found it shortly after midnight, when they exited a bar on Route 58 near the gate to Camp Foster. When the three attempted to pick a fight with another Marine, one of two soldiers waiting for a friend in a nearby parking lot told them to “cool it.”

The Marines turned their attention to the soldiers, according to testimony.

Spc. Michael Adams testified that Taufa, Dukevares and Ortiz backed them into a corner in the lot and “sucker-punched” the soldiers.

Adams, who was hit in the face, said he saw Taufa punch Army Pfc. Matthew Shoemaker several times. Shoemaker fell to the ground.

“I saw Shoemaker getting the [crap] kicked out of him, and I fell on Shoemaker to prevent him from beating him anymore,” Adams said.

The three Marines then kicked and punched them for another 25 seconds or so before the Marines ran away, according to testimony. Both soldiers are assigned to the 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment on Kadena Air Base.

Taufa admitted he was drunk, but he said he knew what he was doing.

“All I know is that I hit him (Shoemaker) multiple times with my fists and elbows, and when he was on the floor I kicked him,” Taufa said during the hearing. “I knew that I broke his jaw. … I kicked him like I was kicking a soccer ball.”

The three Marines were arrested about an hour later.

Shoemaker testified that he was hospitalized for five days and has been on convalescent leave or on light duty ever since. His jaw is no longer wired shut, but he still cannot eat solid foods.


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