Phillipine Judge to Decide Fate of Missouri Marine in Rape Case

DECEMBER 11, 2006 - Posted at 7:43 a.m. CST

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - A Philippine judge is calling a hearing today to decide whether to give U-S officials custody of a Marine convicted of raping a Filipino woman.

The U.S. and Philippine governments say 21-year-old Lance Corporal Daniel Smith of St. Louis should be handed over to American authorities while he appeals his conviction and 40-year sentence.

The U.S. Embassy is demanding that Smith be returned while he appeals -- that process could take years. The Philippine government agrees, citing a military pact that covers the treatment of U-S troops.

The rape victim accused Smith of sexually assaulting her while she was drunk. Smith testified that the sex was consensual.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)