Three soldiers lose appeals in Seoul taxi robbery
October 27, 2006
SEOUL — Three of five 2nd Infantry Division soldiers convicted of robbing a taxi driver and stuffing him in a trunk on Christmas lost their legal appeals, the Korean Supreme Court confirmed Wednesday.
Pvt. Kidrem Cortez Porter will serve four years in prison for his role in the crime, minus 67 days of time served at a Seoul detention center, Chief Justice Kim Yong-ran ruled Oct. 13.
Porter, who was turned over to Korean authorities in February, will serve the sentence after he completes an unrelated 18-month sentence for a March 2005 theft. Spc. Nicholas John Durkin and Spc. Ivey Nathaniel Westbrook, both sentenced to three and a half years in prison, had their appeals rejected.
The 2nd Infantry Division is complying with the decision and will transfer the two soldiers to South Korean custody on Friday, a 2nd ID spokeswoman said.
Pfc. John D. McCall Jr. and Pvt. Javon Joshua Reid did not appeal their three and a half year sentences and were transferred to South Korean custody Aug. 11.
All procedures were followed correctly at the original trial in Uijeongbu in April, according to a court statement.
The soldiers hailed a taxi driver at Uijeongbu Station and asked him to take them to Camp Stanley, according to court testimony. When McCall asked the cab to pull over so he could urinate, Porter struck the driver over the head with a beer bottle.
Durkin said he hid behind a nearby house during the crime.
Reid said Westbrook and Porter stuffed the driver in the trunk, but the two denied involvement and declined to answer when questioned at their trial. McCall drove the cab around afterward, he testified. The taxi driver later escaped and called police.
At the April trial, Porter said he drank nine glasses of liquor that night in addition to the beer he was drinking in the taxi. He had been restricted to base pending his appeal of the March 2005 robbery but left anyway.