A U.S. Navy officer is heading to a Japanese prison for a three-year sentence because a Japanese court would not accept his account of a May 2021 incident in which two pedestrians were killed.
Lt. Ridge Alkonis was behind the wheel when he blacked out, according to CBS.
Alkonis, and the U.S. Navy, said that altitude sickness led to him blacking out behind the wheel. The judge in the case did not accept that argument and ruled Alkonis dozed off. If Alkonis was tired, he should have pulled off the road, the judge said.
“But he wasn’t tired,” Brittany Alkonis, his wife, said. “He was fine and alert. He had even noticed that I was at risk of getting car sick and told me to be careful.”
— Malcom 🇺🇸 (@chakery) July 25, 2022
Alkonis appealed his conviction but lost.
“When I saw his face, I knew that we had lost,” Brittany said. “I was heartbroken, and the first thought that came to my mind is I have to drive home and tell my kids that they’re not going to see their father for three years.”
A Navy statement took issue with the verdict.
“This was a tragic event that resulted in the loss of two precious lives, and tremendous pain for everyone involved,” Commander Katie Cerezo said, according to Stars and Stripes. “We respect the judicial process. However, we are disappointed with the result, which we believe is uncommonly disproportionate given the mitigating evidence.”
We have no finer military officer than U.S. Navy Lt. Ridge Alkonis. If the Japanese government feels at liberty to imprison him without good cause, we have cause to worry about all of our personnel in Japan. #BringRidgeHome
— Mike Lee (@BasedMikeLee) July 25, 2022
“I’m really angry,” Brittany Alkonis told CBS. “We’ve been told that this is the most egregious action against a service member in 60 years.”
Brittany said she fears her husband is being treated harshly due to resentment against light treatment U.S. military personnel may have received in the past.
“I’ve heard that argument, and I won’t deny some truth to it,” she said. “That has definitely changed over the past two to three decades.”
— Andrew Eubanks (@EubanksAndrew) July 22, 2022
Alkonis has apologized and offered to pay $1.65 million in restitution.
The family had been hoping President Joe Biden would intervene.
“Just a phone call from President Biden. He could call and say, ‘he’s coming home.’ The other would be for the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Ambassador Emanuel — he could request clemency on his behalf,” Brittany Alkonis said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.