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NAHA, Okinawa — The 19-year-old dependent of an Army civilian employee was sentenced to 14 months in prison Wednesday in Naha District Court, but the sentence was suspended for three years.

Robert W. Frank II, stepson of a 43-year-old Army Corps of Engineers employee on Camp Foster, stood straight as he listened intently to the verdict through a court interpreter.

Frank pleaded guilty in an earlier session to charges of wounding an American woman and damaging a neighbor’s car March 9 when he fired shots from an air gun owned by his stepfather from the balcony of their off-base home in the Hamagawa district of Chatan.

One of the metallic bullets he fired embedded in the chest of a 50-year-old woman who was walking on a street near the apartment, according to a court document. Frank then fired more shots, aiming at the license plate of a neighbor’s car, causing about $350 in damage, the document said. He faced charges of gross negligence resulting in injuries and vandalism.

“Only to kill his boredom, the defendant fired shots,” said Judge Shinichi Rai as he rendered the judgment. He said that Frank was fully aware of the destructive power of the gun after shooting empty cans prior to the incident.

“The pain the woman sustained is serious,” he said.

Even after the pellet was removed, she suffered from pain in the wound and mental anguish from the scar left on her chest, the judge said.

“On the other hand,” he said, “the defendant deeply regrets what he had done.”

Rai considered Frank’s youth, and said the defendant suffers from mental disorders that could have affected his ability to tell right from wrong.

Before closing the sentencing session, the judge told Frank: “I want you to put this lesson to good use in the future and become a law-abiding good citizen.”

Frank nodded in agreement.

Last month, Naha District Court sentenced Frank’s stepfather to a fine of $1,670 for illegal possession of an air gun.

According to the Okinawa District Customs Office, bringing any type of firearm into Japan is prohibited, except for those for hunting or sports use with appropriate authorization.


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