Polarizing statements close sailor’s trial in Japan
April 26, 2008
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Ten years with hard labor is what USS Gary sailor Joshua David Williams deserves for attempting to kill two Japanese females last summer, prosecutor Yumiko Fujishima told judges Thursday.
Williams deserves “much less” prison time because the sailor didn’t intend to kill anyone, countered defense attorney Yasutoshi Murakami.
Polarizing closing arguments were heard Thursday in the Yokohama District Court in Yokosuka, with attorneys from both sides calling each other’s witnesses irrational and inconsistent.
Williams is on trial for attempted murder based on the early morning events of July 5, 2007, when he stabbed a knife into a 16-year-old girl’s abdomen and stabbed and slashed a 26-year-old woman 17 times in a Yokosuka rental home.
“If I could take that day back, I would,” Williams said Thursday, adding that he never imagined he was “capable” of such violence.
“I see the pictures, and it’s hard to believe that I did that,” Williams said, choking up. “It hurts that I drew blood from a female.”
Williams, 20, admitted to the stabbings but denies the intent to murder, characterizing himself as a stressed-out sailor who stopped once he realized what he was doing.
The victims, identified only as the 16-year-old “Lady A” and the 26-year-old “Lady S,” maintain they lived only because they escaped — Lady A by throwing herself off a balcony and Lady S by shutting herself in an unlocked washroom.
Both women still carry scars and are traumatized from the “atrocious” ordeal, Fujishima said Thursday. The victims — and their mothers — have requested that Williams be punished “as severely as possible,” Fujishima said.
“His motives were self-centered and simplistic,” Fujishima said. “He needs to be put inside an institution for a very long time.”
But this is a case of bodily injury, argued Murakami, as the sailor would have acted differently if he meant to kill them. Williams wouldn’t have stabbed Lady A just once with his weaker hand, nor would he have left the knife at the scene of the crime, Murakami said.
Williams was “seeking refuge” from his restricted military life and abusive childhood, became angry when his friend Lady A “treated him like a dog” and lost control, Murakami said.
If Williams is held responsible for the crime, then the U.S. Navy shares the responsibility as well as the country of Japan, Murakami said.
Williams said he was sorry for the victims and told the judges, “I’m not asking you to ignore what I did, just understand that it was a mistake. I regret it, and it won’t happen again.”
The USS Gary has since left Yokosuka and has moved to San Diego.
The verdict will be announced June 19.
Stars and Stripes reporter Hana Kusumoto contributed to this report.