Okinawa throat-cutting suspect disrupts sentencing
November 1, 2007
NAHA — A defendant in a throat-slashing case flew into a rage during his sentencing Tuesday and was removed from the court by guards after lunging at the victim.
Darian Preston Daniels, 29, was wrestled to the floor by four guards and taken out of the Okinawa courtroom with the help of four more after he charged at Bryant White, 23, a former airman and co-worker at a local furniture company.
The incident occurred as Chief Judge Hiroyuki Yoshii was reading a summary of Daniels’ sentence. Soon after the judge said Daniels will serve eight years forced labor in prison, the 29-year-old former Marine suddenly rose from his seat in the witness stand, took off his glasses and lunged toward White.
“Mr. White, I will see you in eight years. Be there!” Daniels cried out.
White was sitting with his wife two rows from the railing separating the gallery from the three-judge panel and witness stand.
As guards rushed to subdue Daniels, White’s wife rushed forward, and shouting at Daniels reached across the railing to hit him with her purse.
Daniels had pleaded not guilty to the charges of causing serious bodily injury and robbing White on Oct. 23, 2006, in a remote area of Hamahiga Island.
He insisted the attack was committed by his co-defendant, Marine Sgt. Michael Avinger, 30, arguing that the incident was over a failed marijuana deal between Avinger and White.
Yoshii, however, said Tuesday that Daniels and Avinger acted together. They lured White to the isolated area to rob him of $2,000 that Daniels had seen White’s wife throw at her husband at their home during an argument in which she wanted him to leave the house.
Avinger cut White’s throat after Daniels pointed his finger at his own throat, moving it from left to right, the judge said. White suffered a seven-inch wound across his neck.
“The inhuman and self-interest motive leaves no room for leniency,” the three-judge panel’s written verdict stated.
Following the incomplete ruling session, White said outside the courtroom that he had expected something would happen when he realized Daniels was looking at him.
“I saw him taking off his glasses, and I knew he was about to do something,” he said.
White also wondered why Daniels directed his frustration toward him.
“I don’t know why he is mad at me. I didn’t put him in this situation.”
The prosecution sought a 10-year prison term for Daniels.
Avinger’s sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 8.