Prosecutors appeal for harsher sentence in Marine mugging
Stars and Stripes May 15, 2004
NAHA, Okinawa — The Naha District Public Prosecutor’s Office filed an appeal Tuesday in the case of two Marines sentenced April 27 in the October mugging of a 20-year-old Japanese man.
The appeal was made in the case of Cpl. Paul E. Mundell, 22, and Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Major, 24, both assigned to the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing at Futenma Marine Corps Air Station. Both Marines were charged with assaulting the young man from behind at 5:55 a.m. Oct. 23 in Ginowan’s Oyama district, near the air station, and stealing 4,000 yen (about $36).
Prosecutor Yojiro Sasaki had argued that the two Marines conspired to rob the man of money to continue what had been an all-night drinking binge. He said they were seeking a victim and picked on a man they spotted at an all-night supermarket. The man sustained minor injuries that required a week of medical treatment, according to evidence at the trial.
Major, who had admitted in court that he’d been seeking a fight, said he punched the man in the face after Mundell grabbed him from behind but did not realize Mundell had robbed the man until they hailed a cab to go to an Okinawa City bar.
During the trial’s April 27 final session, Chief Judge Nobuyuki Yokota said enough evidence existed to prove the pair planned the assault but Mundell acted alone when he took the man’s money.
He sentenced Mundell to 3½ years in prison for the robbery and assault and Major to two years in prison, suspended for three years, for assault. Mundell admitted at an earlier session that he took the man’s wallet as an afterthought.
The chief judge dismissed the prosecutor’s argument that the crime was a premeditated robbery causing serious injuries.
“The appeal was made because we are not satisfied with the ruling,” a Naha public prosecutor’s office spokesman said Wednesday. The spokesman was announcing the filing of the appeal to the Fukuoka High Court’s Naha branch.
The prosecutor had sought eight years in prison at hard labor for both Marines.
Following sentencing, Major was released to military custody. Mundell remains in the Naha Detention Center.
Mundell’s attorney, Miyatomi Harushima, said his client would remain there pending the appellate review.