Marines want Okinawa rape appeal reinstated

The two U.S. Marines convicted along with a navy seaman of abducting and raping a 12-year-old Okinawa girl in September 1995 want to reinstate an appeal for reduced sentences, saying they were coerced into withdrawing the appeal by a marine officer, it was learned Jan. 31.The marines’ lawyer, Michael Griffith, told a news conference Jan. 31 at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Tokyo that Lt. Col. Craig Myers of the Okinawa Marines’ Judge Advocate General’s office had made “improper contact” with his clients. He alleged that Myers told them they would not receive credit for time served, even if they won the appeal.Pfc. Rodrico Harp was sentenced to seven years and Pfc. Kendrick Ledet received a 6 1/2-year term. They both independently dropped their appeals within 48 hours of meeting with Myers last October, Griffith said.According to Griffith, Myers should have never spoken to Harp or Ledet because they already had legal representation at the time. Griffith said he is working with lawyers in Japan to reinstate the appeal to the Supreme Court.