An American man has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for dumping the body of his ex-lover in a bay in Kanagawa Prefecture last year.
The Yokohama District Court handed down the sentence on Gregory Gumo, 41, on Wednesday, Fuji TV reported. Gumo was originally charged with murdering Mariko Akitaya, 42, but prosecutors dropped the charge of murder last month, citing a lack of evidence. Instead, Gumo faced only a charge of illegally disposing of a body.
The court heard that the body of Akitaya, a contract employee who resided in Tokyo’s Meguro Ward, was found floating in Koajiro Bay, Miura, on the morning of July 29 last year. Gumo, who described himself as self-employed, was detained on the night of July 29 at Haneda International Airport while waiting to board a flight to the U.S., and formally charged on Aug 6.
Akitaya was found wrapped in a sheet and bound with rope and with a concrete block attached to it. There were no external signs of injury on the body which was clothed. An autopsy revealed water in her lungs and that she had taken or been given sleeping pills when her body went into the water. Drowning was listed as the cause of death.
Police discovered tracks in the sand near where the body was found, indicating that she had been dragged to the water’s edge before being put in a canoe and taken out to the bay. Police subsequently discovered that Gumo had purchased the sheet and rope prior to the murder.
Police said they heard from locals that Gumo was familiar with the area because he frequently fished there. They also learned that Gumo and Akitaya became acquainted after meeting on an Internet dating site in April 2015.
Street surveillance camera footage showed the two riding in a car, belonging to Gumo’s wife, in the area a few hours before the woman’s body was found.
However, prosecutors said there was not sufficient evidence to prove that Gumo actually killed Akitaya. Gumo had continuously denied the charge of murder against him and claimed the woman had committed suicide. He testified he was afraid his wife would find out about his affair with Akitaya and subsequently threw her body into the bay.
Gumo and his Japanese wife have three children.© Japan Today