A 19-year-old man accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend in May, 2017, pleaded guilty as his trial began in Tokyo.
During the opening session at the Tokyo District Court on Wednesday, the suspect — who cannot be named because he is a minor — pleaded guilty to killing Mai Sato, then 17, at her apartment on May 3, 2017, Fuji TV reported. Her family were away for a few days at the time.
The court heard that the defendant admitted to choking Sato. He also tried to drown her in a bathtub, as water was detected in her lungs. Police said he went home but came back early the next morning and set fire to the girl's second-floor apartment, using a lighter.
According to prosecutors, the suspect told police that he had strangled Sato after she informed him she was pregnant and wanted to die because she wouldn’t be able to cope with child-rearing. He told police he also wanted to die, so when he came back the next morning, he stayed in the apartment as it burned. But he changed his mind and called 119. He was taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation and then released.
The suspect initially told police that after seeing smoke coming from the girl's second-floor apartment, he had entered it from a balcony to save her. But due to his conflicting accounts of the incident, police became suspicious and arrested him.
Prosecutors then decided that he should undergo a psychiatric evaluation which determined that he was mentally fit to stand trial.
The trial is being held under the lay judge system.© Japan Today