JAPANESE MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR MURDERS HE COMMITTED AS TEENAGER
April 22, 2008: a Japanese court overturned two earlier rulings and sentenced a man to death for a double murder he committed as a teenager, making him only the third person to be placed on death row for a crime committed as a minor since 1983.
The man, now 27, whose name is being withheld because he was a juvenile at the time of the crime, was found guilty of strangling and raping Yayoi Motomura, then 23, and killing her 11-month-old daughter, Yuka.
The Hiroshima High Court ruled that he had posed as a utility company employee to enter their home, indicating the crime was premeditated. Judge Yasuhide Narazaki said he found "no sufficient reasons to avoid the death sentence," public broadcaster NHK said.
In 2006, the Supreme Court ordered a retrial of the murders, committed in 1999 when the defendant was 18, because the life sentences handed down by two lower courts were too light.
Defense lawyers called the ruling unfair and said they would appeal to the Supreme Court. (Sources: International Herald Tribune, 22/04/2008)