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NAHA, Okinawa — Two Marines assigned to Camp Schwab were sentenced to prison in a Japanese court Tuesday for robbing a cab driver two years ago in Okinawa City.

Pvt. Edward Miller Jr., 22, and Pvt. Brandon K. Pearman, 21, were each sentenced in Naha District Court to two years and 10 months with forced labor.

They both pleaded guilty to the charges at an earlier hearing, although they blamed each other for instigating the robbery.

Judge Shinichi Rai said Tuesday both Miller and Pearman conspired and committed the robbery at about 4 a.m. July 4, 2006, in the Chuo district of Okinawa City. They attacked a 64-year-old cab driver, grabbing him by the neck and pushing him down against the passenger’s seat, before they fled with about $800 in cash, the judge said.

In February, Miller was arrested at Narita International Airport by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service for attempting to leave the country. He was held at the Camp Hansen brig until he and Pearman were indicted on the robbery charges in May. Custody was then transferred to Japanese authorities.

The driver suffered neck injuries and was so traumatized after the incident that he quit his job, Rai said.

"While Pearman attacked the driver, Miller grabbed a wallet. They played equally major roles in carrying out the robbery," he said.

On the other hand, he said, both admitted to the crime and showed remorse.

The court imposed lighter sentences than the five-year terms recommended by the prosecution "because they have no previous criminal records and they are still young with great possibilities to rehabilitate," he said.


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