crime

American man gets 18 months for dumping woman's body in bay

58 Comments

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.

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58 Comments
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She had taken sleeping pills...1.5 years. One life.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

wow ... this scumbag just got away with murder .... enjoy your 18months of hard time. I feel for your wife and kids, they will live with this stigma forever.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

He didn't confess.... they had no proof, so they charge him with dumping a body. I'll give the courts credit.... even though they look like idiots with this sentence......they at least put this guy in jail for a short time. Ultimately his sentence makes zero sense.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

He testified he was afraid his wife would find out about his affair with Akitaya

with any luck, she won't realise

10 ( +9 / -0 )

So she had overdosed of sleeping pills but the cause of her death was the water in her lungs, was that enough evidence to say Gumo killed her?

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Under Scottish law there is a verdict of "Not Proven". This effectively means that we know you did it but we can't prove it; that would seem to be an appropriate conclusion in this case.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Why do I feel like the whole story is not being told here.

How many times have the cops given up on a getting a murder conviction when they have the body, a suspect, and motive, literally all wrapped together.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Innocent until proven guilty. OK. But with all the circumstantial evidence, why couldn't the prosecutors indict him for murder?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Under Scottish law there is a verdict of "Not Proven".

I've heard it defined as "not guilty, but don't do it again".

I can't help but think that the cops' over-reliance on confessions doomed this case.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Any other crime news involving Americans prior to G7 summit?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Well, this guy must have some high power watching over him for sure.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

this guy has got to be connected to the yak because there is enough circumstantial evidence to give this guy a lengthy prison sentence for murder. japanese prosecutors have gone in with less evidence than this to convict a person of murder.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

It wouldn't be JT if people didn't complain both when people are put away for circumstantial evidence and when they aren't.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

I find it odd that there is a follow-up story on this American guy but never a follow-up story on some of the children killed by parents crimes or other Japanese nationals that have committed disgusting crimes. Of course they`ll mention the American though.

4 ( +8 / -5 )

Yeah it's almost like they choose stories they think will have relevance to their readership or something.

2 ( +12 / -10 )

Couldn't he have been charged with manslaughter, seeing as drowning was the cause of death?

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Wait, so he admitted to dumping her body into the bay...but wasn't it proven that she was still alive when he tossed her body in and that she drowned to death? Wouldn't hat be admitting to murdering her?

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Wow, this is about as getting away with murder as you can get. He was even arrested at the airport just before boarding a flight overseas! Movie quality

7 ( +8 / -1 )

This is what happens when police/prosecuters become used to relying on a confession to make charges, instead of looking for actual evidence and doing proper detective work.

The police couldnt beat a confession out of him, so they had to stick to the only one they could get him for.

10 ( +13 / -2 )

Why not ring the police when he found the body. Just report it without leaving a name, if he was so scared of his wife founding out. I hope the police have not close the murder case. Gumo is guilty as hell. He will stuff up and get caught.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The logic behind this sentence is hurting my brain...

His defence against 'illegal disposal of a body' was that she wasn't dead when he wrapped her in a plastic sheet, tied an anchor to her and threw her in the ocean? But he can be convicted because the judge concluded that the defendant thought he was disposing a body.

Regardless of whether or not she took the pills willingly he's admitting to killing her...

11 ( +12 / -1 )

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.

Er... that to me says he murdered her: gave her the sleeping pills, wrapped her up while asleep and then chucked her in the water (with a concrete block), where she drowned... what more evidence do they need? This would be a murder conviction anywhere else.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Because the cause of Akitaya's death was drowning and Gumo admitted to dumping her body in the bay, it seems like the prosecutors could have easily added significantly to his prison sentence with a negligent homicide charge at the very least, in addition to the time Gumo will do for disposal of her body (which was still alive when he disposed of it). Sure Gumo could claim that she attempted suicide, but obviously being his submerging her in the bay is what killed her.

This 15-month charge is an insult to Akitaya and her family. RIP Mariko Akitaya.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Did the water in her lungs match the water where the Body was found or did she drown somewhere else?

Important detail that is missing here.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Gotta love Japan. Kill someone and only get 18 months! i would of given him life.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

He said he didn't kill her . If I was on a jury and the facts presented left me with no other option than to acquit . I could not live with putting a person down for a wrong that is not proven . Justice has been served in this case .

1 ( +6 / -6 )

"Couldn't he have been charged with manslaughter, seeing as drowning was the cause of death?"

Yes!! It cannot be abandonment of a body because the woman was not dead when he put her in the water. Apparently he THOUGHT that she was dead and that he was disposing of a body but she was only "sleeping" therefore it is MANSLAUGHTER because although he DID NOT MEAN to kill her, his actions directly led to her death.

Either way, the J-cops now have EIGHTEEN MONTHS to find enough evidence for the MURDER CONVICTION...

Akitaya was found wrapped in a sheet and bound with rope and with a concrete block attached to it

And all the J-cops say "suicide!!!"

8 ( +9 / -1 )

This is just way out there....18 months is all he got speechless have to feel for Akitayas family and friends they wont get justice at all..

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is what happens when police/prosecuters become used to relying on a confession to make charges, instead of looking for actual evidence and doing proper detective work.

The police couldnt beat a confession out of him, so they had to stick to the only one they could get him for.

Spot on comment!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The reason that there is a 99% conviction rate is not that the prosecution and police are that good, it's that they will not file charges if there is the slightest hole in their case in order to keep the conviction rate high. They need a confession. In the Japanese legal system, a confession trumps everything including forensic evidence and logic (for better or for worse).

Fortunately for Japanese prosecutors, most defendants are only too happy to talk themselves into Jail, either voluntarily or with a little "incentive ." For 21 days, 10 hours a day, this guy was smart enough or evil enough to keep his mouth shut. So they got nothing.

One wonders what what the rate will be once all interrogations are recorded and the ability to "encourage " a confession is greatly reduced....

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I'm curious if he underwent a lie detector test. I know Japanese police will use it drug cases so why not in a murder case?

Does anyone know if a failed lie detector test is considered to be only circumstantial evidence in Japan?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

MANSLAUGHTER!

Clear cut!

I hope this won't be the last we hear of this! He must have had a good lawyer.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"For 21 days, 10 hours a day, this guy was smart enough or evil enough to keep his mouth shut."

BINGO! Both smart enough AND evil enough. But now he has to live with himself for the rest of his life,

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Another person that kills another and tries to destroy his family. -A senseless and heinous crime.

-Good police work.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Well, if you ever get caught in a serious crime here, this tells you what to do. Deny, deny, deny. Without a confession the police here seem to have no idea how to build a case.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Couldn't he have been charged with manslaughter, seeing as drowning was the cause of death?

Not with the evidence of drugging. Unless you think she took sleeping pills and went swimming at night.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This guy murdered her. Why was he trying to board a US bound flight after abandoning her body? 18 months is a joke of a sentence. Japan's courts are a circus.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Now they have a year and a half to work up the murder case. Get on it!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I don't understand this.... He was convicted of dumping a body into the water... But the evidence couldn't prove that he killed her? Unless he pulled the body out of the water, then threw her back in the same water, the fact that the evidence points to drowning, how is this person NOT guilty???

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This guy murdered her. Why was he trying to board a US bound flight after abandoning her body? 18 months is a joke of a sentence. Japan's courts are a circus.

The guy is probably guilty. He probably did kill her, but based upon the evidence they cannot get a conviction. I certainly hope prosecutors look more closely into Gumo, but based upon the article, seems rather hard to prove he did kill her. Blame the police, not the courts.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There is no mention of Akitya drowning at the site where her body was found, and it is quite possible she took sleeping pills and lay down in her bath.

The evidence that people are using to convict him of murder on this site is sheer speculation. He was not charged with murder because the police considered there was not enough evidence to secure a conviction.

Remember innocent until proven guilty, and then only if convicted beyond a reasonable doubt.

He was charged with and convicted of abandoning a body beyond reasonable doubt. The lynchmob mentality of some of the comments on this forum never fails to amaze me. She is a witch....burn her...she has got a wart on her nose so must be a witch

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

She was alive when he dumped her in the water, now she's dead, but they don't have enough evidence!? WTF!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

it is quite possible she took sleeping pills and lay down in her bath.

And then she got in Gumo's car and drove down to the beach with him (street surveillance cameras caught them both in the car)... and by coincidence he had just gone out and bought a sheet and rope.

Furthermore, he admits to wrapping her body in the sheet, tying an anchor to her and dumping her in the ocean while she was still alive.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

only??

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@BuBuBu, Where does it say he admitted dumping her in the Ocean whilst she was still alive? Being in his car a few hours before she apparently died does not make him a murderer. See what I mean about lack of evidence?

The only evidence that has some mileage is the fact he bought some tarpaulin and rope before she died, but that was deemed to be not sufficient to secure a murder conviction, but possibly supported the case for which he was convicted.

Taking sleeping tablets and drowning in her bath is just as plausible as your unsupported theory of murder by Gumo.

Beyond reasonable doubt is the level of proof required, and in this case there IS reasonable doubt, hence the decision not to charge him with murder.

The Police can continue to investigate and gather irrefutable evidence to secure a conviction in the future. To charge him now on flimsy and possibly circumstantial evidence that could lead to a not guilty verdict would be extremely foolish. Double jeopardy anyone ?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

he conceded that he dumped her body in the bay? Does it mean he dumped her body after she committed suicide for fear that their intimacy would be revealed? not killed her?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I call bs. He murdered her.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"Double jeopardy anyone?"

Double Jeopardy only counts for the same charge. He has been found guilty of "abandoning a body" but can still be charged with MURDER when the police have more evidence.

A common trick is to put an informant in as his cell-mate to tease a confession out of him. Not the most reliable of witnesses but better than nothing.

Police subsequently discovered that Gumo had purchased the sheet and rope prior to the MURDER.

Even the article has a Freudian slip that admits that it was MURDER!!!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@The Godfather That is the point I was making regarding Double Jeopardy, to charge him now with murder on the available evidence would probably lead to a verdict of not guilty and would prejudice any charge in the future on stronger evidence that had a better chance of securing a guilty verdict. @ ThePBot quite possibly it is BS, but gut feelings are not admissible as evidence in court

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Hategobo, there is no double jeopardy in Japan. Defendants are routinely recharged for the same offence.

His defence against illegal disposal of a body was that she was alive when her dumped her in the ocean. This is a matter of public record and not some 'unsupported theory'.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"there is no double jeopardy in Japan"

And after EIGHT HUNDRED YEARS it was overturned in England in 2005.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4406129.stm

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Where does it say he admitted dumping her in the Ocean whilst she was still alive? Being in his car a few hours before she apparently died does not make him a murderer. See what I mean about lack of evidence?

I don't know if he admitted that, but it says they found the cause of death to be drowning, so if you put 2 and 2 together.. It seems they are letting him have his cake and eat it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is unfair to the victim and her family. 18 months? Seriously? The Japanese court system never fails to amaze me. Ridiculous to the infinite.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Gumo is a well-known con-artist and fraudster (just check on google). I guess he conned his way out of this charge.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

You would not believe the level of ridiculous court ordeals in Japan. Basically, it is about trying not to use the brain and rely mainly on some algorithmic lines of reasoning that are Japanese robotic in nature. This results in such nonsense rulings. The guy has planned, purchased items for body disposal, drugged the woman,taken her to the bay, used concrete to drown her while still alive, and has gotten away with murder. There are only two reasons: 1- because he did not confess, he used the court inability to think like an intelligent human. They can only deduce that they do not have 100% confidence in proving he committed murder. 2- they blame the woman, the victim, for having a relationship with a successful businessman who was married, while the victim was not. Essentially, the Japanese do not believe in equal human dignity. Men of higher status are above those of lower status. She is dead in their logic, because her wrong actions called for it! Yes, Japan is still 50 years behind a modern world.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The guy has planned, purchased items for body disposal,

No. He bought them a month before for garden work. Hardly premeditated.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A little confused.

Gumo testified he was afraid his wife would find out about his affair with Akitaya and subsequently threw her body into the bay.

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.

This case was handed to the courts on a silver platter.

How can it not be murder

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How can it not be murder

Murder requires intent.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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