March 25, 2017
Nagoya- Nagoya District Court sentenced Friday a 21-year-old former Nagoya University student to an indefinite prison term, for charges including the murder of a woman as well as the attempted murder of two people using the poisonous substance thallium sulfate.
Handing down the sentence sought by prosecutors, Presiding Judge Koji Yamada said, “A fixed-term imprisonment is too light for the severe and malicious crimes she committed.”
The main focal point of the trial by lay judges was the criminal liability of the former university student, who committed crimes when she was a minor and apparently had developmental and bipolar disorders.
While admitting that “these disorders helped motivate her to commit the crimes to some extent,” Yamada judged that they had “a limited effect” on her behavior. She carried out her crimes by choice and “is able to take full criminal responsibility,” he said.
Citing the absence of an apology from the accused during the trial, Yamada said, “Her remorse is not at all sufficient.”
But he said that she “is belatedly starting to understand the gravity of the crimes following the closing argument by prosecutors and to show signs of repentance.”
He also noted the sentence given to the former university student was not meant to call for her to stay in prison for the rest of her life or to be close to a death penalty.
“It would be appropriate that she return to society at a relatively early stage after she serves a reasonably long term in prison, using the parole system flexibly depending on how far she overcomes her disorders,” the judge said.
The ruling found that the accused killed a woman driven by an interest to experience a murder and to see how people die and gave thallium sulfate to two people from curiosity to observe the toxic symptoms.
Defense lawyers claimed that she had failed to control her behavior due to mental disorders and sought a not-guilty verdict on all the charges.
According to the ruling, the accused damaged the health of two people in the same grade as her when she was a high school student in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan, between May and July 2012, by giving them beverages mixed with thallium sulfate. At that time, she didn’t mind if they died, it said.
Also, she strangled a 77-year-old female acquaintance, Tomoko Mori, to death with a scarf after striking her with an ax in an apartment in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, central Japan, in December 2014, when she was a first-year student at Nagoya University, the ruling said. Jiji Press
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