CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A Japanese court handed a U.S. soldier on Okinawa a two-year, suspended sentence for beating a bar owner unconscious with a beer mug.

Pfc. Dalton Housenick, 23, pleaded guilty on Sept. 9 in Naha District Court to assault resulting in injury for the Dec. 18 beating of a Yomitan village bar owner, District Court Judge Takashi Kato said at Friday’s sentencing hearing.

The unnamed bar owner in his 50s was hospitalized and suffered two lost teeth and a broken collarbone, according to the indictment.

“There is no reason to justify the defendant’s actions,” Kato said after passing the sentence. He called the assault “serious.”

The night of the assault, Housenick arrived at the unnamed bar past midnight and drank with other customers and staff for several hours until only he and the bar owner remained, according to the indictment.

An argument ensued; Housenick pushed the bar owner to the floor and beat him unconscious with the mug, the indictment said. The assault occurred sometime between 5:41 a.m. and 11:26 a.m., when the owner regained consciousness and called police.

Police found the owner unconscious on the floor. Housenick called bar employees later that day and said the bar owner said something that upset him, according to the indictment.

Housenick faced up to 15 years in prison or a $3,300 fine, according to the Japanese penal code. Prosecutors had sought two years imprisonment.

Kato suspended Housenick’s sentence for three years, meaning he will likely not serve jail time unless convicted again in Japan.

Housenick admitted guilt and had already paid just over $6,500 to the victim in compensation, Kato said, explaining the suspended sentence.

Housenick does not plan to appeal the sentence, his attorney, Kotaro Ito, said after the hearing.

Details about Housenick’s Army service were not addressed at the hearing. The 10th Support Group at Torii Station did not immediately respond Monday to a request seeking comment.


author picture
Mari Higa is an Okinawa-based reporter/translator who joined Stars and Stripes in 2021. She previously worked as a research consultant and translator. She studied sociology at the University of Birmingham and Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of Social Sciences.
author picture
Matthew M. Burke has been reporting from Okinawa for Stars and Stripes since 2014. The Massachusetts native and UMass Amherst alumnus previously covered Sasebo Naval Base and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, for the newspaper. His work has also appeared in the Boston Globe, Cape Cod Times and other publications.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now