JAPAN: HIGH COURT CHANGES PERUVIAN MAN'S DEATH SENTENCE TO LIFE IN PRISON
December 6, 2019:
The Tokyo High Court overturned a lower court’s death sentence and gave a Peruvian man life in prison on 5 December 2019 over the 2015 murder of six people in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture. (Sources: Kyodo, 05/12/2019)
The court ruled that Vayron Jonathan Nakada Ludena, 34, who was found guilty of robbery and the murders, could not be held completely responsible for his actions due to his schizophrenia at the time of the crime.
Prosecutors had sought the death penalty, which the Saitama District Court granted in March 2018, concluding that he had been mentally competent to recognize the gravity of his actions. His defense counsel argued for his acquittal.
The district court had said Nakada Ludena’s efforts to hide the bodies and wipe away the blood at the crime scenes demonstrated that he knew that his actions were criminal. But the high court judged that he had a diminished mental capacity at that time.
The high court’s presiding Judge Kazuyuki Okuma said, “There were errors on a psychiatric evaluation that cannot be overlooked.”
Noting that although the crime committed by Nakada Ludena was cruel and warranted capital punishment, the judge said, “We reduced (the sentence) in terms of law due to his diminished capacity.”