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Former Marine Gets Life for Murder and Rape of Okinawa Woman

In this May 20, 2016 file photo, police officers escort Kenneth Shinzato, center, an American working on a U.S. military base in Okinawa, out of Uruma Police Station in Uruma on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa.  (Ryosuke Ozawa/Kyodo News via AP)
In this May 20, 2016 file photo, police officers escort Kenneth Shinzato, center, an American working on a U.S. military base in Okinawa, out of Uruma Police Station in Uruma on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa. (Ryosuke Ozawa/Kyodo News via AP)

TOKYO — A Japanese court has convicted a U.S. military contractor of murder and rape charges in the death of an Okinawa woman and sentenced him to life in prison.

NHK public television says the Naha District Court on Friday also found Kenneth Shinzato, a former Marine, guilty of abandoning the victim's body. The 20-year-old woman was found in the forest in May, three weeks after she disappeared while taking a walk.

The case sparked outrage on the southern Japanese island where residents have long complained about heavy U.S. military presence and crimes linked to them. The anger led to a bilateral pact limiting immunity from Japanese prosecution for civilian workers at American bases.

Half of about 50,000 American troops stationed in Japan are on Okinawa.

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