Court hands killer 20-year prison term after deeming prosecutors' request too light
YOKOHAMA — A man convicted in a lay judge trial of murdering a shop keeper has been handed a 20-year prison sentence by the Yokohama District Court — two years more than the term sought by prosecutors.
Kentaro Motomura, 35, of Hadano, Kanagawa Prefecture was convicted on Sept. 14 of fatally stabbing Morio Masuda, 79, a toy shop owner in the city. Prosecutors had demanded an 18-year sentence.
"The defendant acted emotionless in court, as though his trial was someone else's, and showed no sign of remorse. The prosecution's recommendation was too light to accept," Presiding Judge Toru Takahashi said in handing down the ruling.
It is unusual for a court to give a heavier sentence than sought by prosecutors in a lay judge case.
During his trial, Motomura said he had no recollection of the incident and his attorney pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, citing side effects of anti-depression medication he was taking at the time of the incident.
However, the court concluded that Motomura was capable of taking responsibility for the crime as he had removed the security camera at the scene in a bid to destroy evidence, and further determined he was the culprit based on fingerprints matching the defendant's left on the security camera. Judges also accused the defendant of feigning memory loss to obscure details of the incident, and of showing no intention of revealing the truth.
According to the ruling, on April 9 2009, Motomura repeatedly stabbed Masuda in the neck and head in the victim's shop, causing him to die from blood loss.
(Mainichi Japan) September 15, 2010