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New charges for Marine accused of choking Okinawa taxi driver, then stealing and crashing the vehicle

The Naha District Court building in Naha, Okinawa.

AYA ICHIHASHI/STARS AND STRIPES

By MATTHEW M. BURKE AND AYA ICHIHASHI | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 3, 2020

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — An Okinawa-based Marine accused of choking a taxi driver before stealing and crashing the vehicle has been hit with a slew of new charges.

Lance Cpl. Jamison Michael Bissett, 20, assigned to Camp Hansen, was arrested on a robbery charge Nov. 8, at a local hospital where he had been treated following a crash the previous evening. Bissett was handed over to the Naha District Public Prosecutors Office the day after his arrest and is still in custody.

A fresh indictment Nov. 27 charges Bissett with intimidation, assault, larceny and obstructing business by force, a spokesman for the prosecutors office told Stars and Stripes by phone Wednesday. A trial date may be set as early as mid-December, according to a spokesman for Naha District Court.

Government spokespeople in Japan typically speak to the media on condition of anonymity as a condition of their employment.

Bissett has denied all allegations, a police spokesman has said.

Police allege that Bissett hailed a cab on the evening of Nov. 7 in Chatan and asked to be taken to Camp Hansen. Around 10:10 p.m., about 3 ½ miles south of Yaka Interchange on the Okinawa Expressway, police said, Bissett reached around from the backseat and began choking the driver.

The driver stopped the car in the middle of the expressway and fled on foot, the spokesman said. Police allege Bissett continued north in the taxi.

Bissett allegedly struck the median and crashed the cab near the Yaka Interchange exit, where he was found with a head injury, according to police. Police said the cab was totaled.

Police allege Bissett took approximately $100 from the taxi driver’s change purse. The driver was not injured in the incident.

burke.matt@stripes.com
Twitter: @MatthewMBurke1

ichihashi.aya@stripes.com
Twitter: @AyaIchihashi