JAPAN: EX-COP'S DEATH PENALTY UPHELD OVER MURDER OF WIFE, CHILDREN
September 23, 2021:
A high court denied on 15 September 2021 an appeal lodged by the defense of a former policeman who a lower court ruled should be put to death for the murder of his wife and 2 children at their southwestern Japan home in June 2017. (Source:Â abs-cbn, 15/09/2021)
The Fukuoka High Court rejected an appeal by Mitsuru Nakata, 43, saying the district court was correct in its findings and decision to impose the death penalty given the seriousness of the crime.
Nakata's lawyers had argued his innocence during the appeal.
In the absence of witness accounts or a confession, the Fukuoka District Court found in December 2019 that Nakata was guilty of the murders, ruling out the possibility an intruder was responsible based on the police investigation and other evidence including security camera footage from near their home.
His defense team had claimed that the 3 could have died after Nakata went to work in the morning, saying the possibility the crime was committed by an outsider cannot be ruled out.
Presiding high court Judge Yasuo Tsujikawa said testimony provided by a forensic scientist that said the three victims had died before the defendant went to work was credible.
"The judgment of the district court, which rejected the possibility of a crime by an outsider, was not unreasonable," Tsujikawa said.
According to the district and high court rulings, Nakata, then a sergeant with the Fukuoka prefectural police department, strangled his wife Yukiko, 38, son Ryosuke, 9, and daughter Miyu, 6, at their home in Ogori sometime between the late hours of 5 June 2017, and the following morning.
The lower court had highlighted an injury on Nakata's arm believed to have been sustained when his wife was resisting his attack as evidence he was involved.
A DNA sample of material taken from under one of the woman's fingernails matched that of Nakata.