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Okinawa base worker to admit rape, but not intentional murder

A former U.S. base worker will admit to a charge of rape leading to the death of a Japanese woman last year, a new development in the case that rocked the tiny island prefecture and led to a surge in anti-American sentiment.

Kenneth Franklin Gadson, a former Marine who worked as a civilian at a Kadena Air Base cable and internet company, said through his attorneys that he killed Rina Shimabukuro, 20, while attempting to rape her, according to Naha District Court documents filed Friday.

“We do not dispute the charge of rape resulting in death,” the documents said, adding that Gadson admits to striking Shimabukuro on the head from behind while attempting to rape her. “As a result, the victim died … The defendant had no murderous intent, therefore we dispute the charge of murder.”

Gadson’s first pretrial conference is scheduled for March 10. The trial is expected to begin sometime around June.

The admission’s timing surprised some legal scholars, since prosecutors haven’t yet presented evidence in court. It was most likely an attempt at a lesser sentence by showing remorse, which is considered very important in the Japanese justice system.

“Generally speaking, if you do not admit anything while there is obvious evidence, the attitude is seen as atrocious, with no remorse; thereby, the sentence tends to be longer,” said Tetsumi Takara, a law professor at the University of the Ryukyus.

Takara said the death penalty cannot be discounted in this case, though it is rarely handed down in cases involving a single death.

“There is a possibility that he chose this route for a lesser sentence by giving a good impression to [the civilian] judges (similar to an American jury),” Takara said. “Having said that, it is still strange to admit the charge before trial.”

Gadson was charged with murder and rape resulting in death by Japanese prosecutors two months after Shimabukuro disappeared on April 28. He was also charged with the illegal disposal of a body.

Following interrogation, he took police to the wooded area where her remains were found. He confessed to the crime, police said, but his lawyers argued he was questioned while under the influence of sleeping pills after a suicide attempt.

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Sexual assaults in the US miliary

That ugly word is rape. Both by the enemy and their own fellow soldiers and commanders. The ugly fact is that female soldiers are targets of men and their aggression and mental attitudes, that all lead to rape, murder, harassment, and abuse. The American public is worried about sending their daughters in combat zones were they could be captured and sexually assaulted by the enemy, the odd thing is that the vast majority of sexual assaults against women in the military are committed by their fellow soldiers. Originally, political leaders and military brass were worried about the effect of having young women in body bags coming home could have on public opinion about the war, now that conversation has altered. Mostly, female soldiers have to worry about their own commanders and fellow soldiers during deployment and back home. As one writer put it: “Women soldiers have to watch their back twice: once on the battlefield and again when behind the wire.” The statistics are damning: the US military has about 14% of their population being serial sexual predators that prey on both men and women in the service. Within the normal United States population that number is around 7%. In 2012, about 26,000 women and some men experienced a form of sexual  assault. This is a jump of 10,000 (or 34% increase) from 2011. Out of the 1.2 million servicemebers in the US Military, about 200,000 are women. Only about 3,000 cases are reported to the DoD, and only a few hundred of these cases receive any type of legal action. 96 resulted in court marshal. In just one branch, the overall statistic was one-in-five women in the military is a victim of sexual assault in the US Air Force. Overall, some 500,000 women in the military have been sexual assaulted since the 1st Gulf War. That is a hard number to deal with.

Shocking Stories of Abu Ghraib Prisoners

Full disclosure on the appalling Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq

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