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Former Marine in 1995 Okinawa rape dies in murder-suicide

Date Posted: 2006-09-01

Nearly 11 years after being convicted of raping a 12-year-old girl in Okinawa, a former Marine has killed himself after murdering his girlfriend.

Police in Kennesaw, Georgia say Kendrick Ledet was found dead in an apartment belonging to Lauren Cooper, 22, a Kennesaw State University student. Ledet is thought by authorities to have committed suicide after killing Cooper, his girlfriend. An Atlanta newspaper, the Journal Constitution, says Cooper, whose body was found in the same room, was sexually assaulted, beaten in the head, and strangled. The 31-year-old former Marine is said to have died after slashing his arms.

Ledet was one of three men convicted in the Labor Day 1995 rape of a young Okinawa girl they’d abducted from a street just outside Camp Hansen in Kin Village. Then a Marine Private First Class who had just turned 21, Ledet—along with Marine PFC Rodrico Harp and Navy Seaman Marcus Gill—was sentenced to six and one-half years in a Japanese prison for the crime. He was released in 2003.

The rape triggered massive protests against U.S. forces on Okinawa. Shortly after the men were sentenced, the U.S. agreed to reduce its bases on Okinawa by 21%.

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