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Court Orders U.S. Marine to Pay Damages Over Car Accident

October 31, 1996

TOKYO (AP) _ A court ordered a U.S. Marine today to pay $544,000 in damages to the family of three people who died after they were hit by the car she was driving.

Rojita Kinjo, 36, and her two daughters, Mitsuko, 10, and Mariko, 1, were killed last January when the car driven by Cpl. Lori A. Padilla spun out of control onto a sidewalk 18 miles north of Naha, the capital of Okinawa.

Padilla, 20, of Houston, Texas, is serving a two-year prison term for her conviction in June of reckless driving and professional negligence resulting in the deaths.

Today’s ruling by Judge Wataru Nemoto of the Naha District Court was part of a separate civil trial. He ordered the payment to Kinjo’s husband and their surviving daughter.

In an earlier court ruling, the owner of the car, Aliceia L. McDonald, was also held liable for the same $544,000 payment to the family. McDonald has been transferred to a U.S. Marine base near San Diego, Calif., and has not attended any court sessions.

Tsutomu Arakaki, the lawyer for the plaintiffs, said he will ask the U.S. government to pay the damages if McDonald and Padilla refuse to pay.

About 47,000 U.S. military personnel are stationed on Okinawa under a security agreement between Japan and the United States.

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