A judge ruled Monday that Eddie Mesa, a lance corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps, will be able to deploy to Okinawa, Japan, with his unit as his case moves toward a possible trial. Mesa is charged with accessory to attempted murder for his alleged role in a near-fatal stabbing at a Mesa party in April. Two other men have been charged in the assault, and their cases are linked with his.
As part of his initial bail agreement, Mesa surrendered his passport and was ordered not to leave the country. But his defense attorney, Robert Sanger, successfully lobbied the court this week to let Mesa travel overseas with his Marine unit. Sanger said there’s no evidence to suggest Mesa was directly involved in the stabbing and that a number of witnesses are still being interviewed. He cited his client’s patriotism and past military tours in Afghanistan and South Korea, saying he has his commanding officer’s support.
Deputy District Attorney Ali Neuffer argued against letting Mesa deploy, explaining she was concerned he wouldn’t return for his preliminary hearing, which is scheduled for July 17 and 18. Sanger countered that Mesa is a career Marine, and he wouldn’t let a bench warrant ruin his record. Sanger will stand in for Mesa when he and the other defendants — Sean Crane and Michael Hardy — appear back in court July 9 for a status hearing.