Members of the the Fukuoka District Court are seen on Friday after sentencing a former policeman to death for killing his wife and two children. Photo: POOL/KYODO
crime

Ex-police officer sentenced to death for killing wife, 2 young children

43 Comments

The Fukuoka District Court on Friday sentenced a 41-year-old former policeman to death for killing his 38-year-old wife, nine-year-old son and six-year-old daughter in Ogori in 2017.

According to the ruling at the lay judge trial, Mitsuru Nakata, a former sergeant with the Fukuoka police, strangled his wife Yukiko shortly after midnight on June 5, 2017. He also strangled their son Ryosuke and daughter Miyu.

Nakata pleaded not guilty after his arrest and maintained his innocence during the trial.

Nakata, who worked for the prefectural police's communications dispatch division, was arrested on June 8, 2017, after the police recovered his DNA under one of his wife's fingernails, suggesting she scratched him in a struggle. Nakata also had an injury to his arm which prosecutors argued was caused by his wife trying to defend herself.

Nakata claimed that he left for work early on June 6 and that someone else must have entered the house.

Prosecutors said the couple's strained relationship as the defendant's motive, and said the possibility of an intruder could be ruled out based on police investigations and evidence including security camera footage near their home, Kyodo News reported.

The victims' bodies were found after the wife's sister visited their home. The sister found the wife lying face up in the kitchen on the first floor, while the two children were found dead in their bedroom on the second floor.

© Japan Today/Kyodo

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43 Comments
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No words. He can rot.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

good

7 ( +10 / -3 )

hmm, sorry either this article is not giving enough info or the police havent been saying enough.

how could dna trace from someone living living together be enough to convict... scratching someone is def not enough.. that can happen during normal coital activities.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Guys if you are in a miserable marriage for whatever reason just leave. Just leave and never come back.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

They need more evidence. This could easily be done by someone else.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

They are going to sentence someone to death purely on the "evidence" of DNA found under one fingernail? Of his wife? If that is all the prosecution has, this sounds very wrong to me.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Good good good, he did it, and no one did.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Man,a quartet of poker-faces with not a gray hair among them.

Think this dude is busted though........in spite of the lack of evidence.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Crazy story, obviously crucial parts of this story missing leaving readers perplexed, victim has her husbands DNA under one fingernail, that must be very common in 99% of relationships one would easily imagine.

There has to be more to this than that, or we are all guilty next time something happens ones wife.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

re article: after the police recovered his DNA under one of his wife's fingernails, suggesting she scratched him in a struggle. Fukuoka District Court on Friday sentenced a 41-year-old former policeman to death.

Too circumstantial evidence to be admitted for such a sentence. It is possible they could have had a fight hours before her death, so either he had a bad defense lawyer or we are missing other facts of the case altogether, like key witnesses, murder weapon if any, key eyewitnesses that collaborate with time of death according to autopsy report and of course the autopsy report itself. I'm just curious to see if the recent public outbursts had any bearing on the actual harsh sentence due to recent corporate execs and ex bureaucrats not being jailed and let go though lives perished.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I am not totally convinced that he's guilty, the article says "the two children were found dead in their bedroom on the second floor" this suggests that they were both in the same bedroom. it would make reasonable sense that if one child was being strangled/attacked they would make a noise or violent movement alerting the other, unless you can ( presumed ) strangle two at the same time. Although this article does not mention there cause of death. can J new enlighten us with that please? what evidence that he killed these children? any DNA? has his police colleagues been interviewed and did his mood or attitude change in or around that time? was there any register of him and his late wife constantly arguing or shouting, treats to harm her in the apartment? did they interview the neighbours? What was the motive for killing them all? did his body language change at work, because the average person who's just killed 3 people would change that's for sure. has the police officer taken a polygraph test? I think that this article is a bit thin on facts and needs to be added to.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Did the police officer put a few nasty criminals away in prison ? could this be a set up and pay back for locking one of them up?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Good.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Two of those judges, if that's what they are, look like they are barely out of their teens.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Not nearly enough information. Those kids, judges well I think there should be an adult in the room.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Nakata, who worked for the prefectural police's communications dispatch division, was arrested on June 8, 2017, after the police recovered his DNA under one of his wife's fingernails, suggesting she scratched him in a struggle.

Did Nakata have any scratches on him?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Can he appeal? My wife and I are in a loving relationship but I'm sure we'd both have each others DNA all over us..

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Japanese justice not saying yes not saying no just we don't know the process is so conveluting who can tell.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And this is why I don't support the death penalty. It's often metted out on questionable evidence at best. He may very well have done it but the evidence is just not enough.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Death is too good for this guy if he did it, and I say IF because I don't see any convincing evidence.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Did he do it or didn't he? As someone pointed out above having his DNA in the wife's finger nails may not be enough evidence to convict. They are husband and wife living together so it is possible for their DNA to be found on one another. The police and prosecutors must do a better job to proof their case beyond reasonable doubt. If they fail to do so judges must not convict based on assumptions and half truths.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It’s hard to support the death penalty and harder yet to do so with so little information. To sentence someone to death, it needs to be clear as day to anyone that the accused has indeed done it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Chip StarToday 06:16 pm JST

Nakata, who worked for the prefectural police's communications dispatch division, was arrested on June 8, 2017, after the police recovered his DNA under one of his wife's fingernails, suggesting she scratched him in a struggle.

Did Nakata have any scratches on him?

Yes. It is right there in the next sentence.

Nakata also had an injury to his arm which prosecutors argued was caused by his wife trying to defend herself.

Gary

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yes. It is right there in the next sentence.

If it was a scratch, they should say scratch or wound, though. Injury is a weird choice of words.

Either way, the evidence is pretty much all against this guy.

Motive to kill - check

Scratch wound - check

Only one in house other than dead - check

Tried to fake suicide - check

Went to work instead of calling it in - check

Not sure what more evidence JT posters need.

See the original japantimes article where it mentions the suicide fake attempt.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/06/08/national/crime-legal/police-sergeant-arrested-suspected-family-slaying-fukuoka/#.XfOSlegzaUk

2 ( +3 / -1 )

1.motive?

2.scratch is scratch, there is a difference

3.one in house?how many people supposed to be there

4.suicide, that actually makes least sense, why claim innocence then

5.?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The role and career of a police officer is to protect the public from crime and harm. A good cop knows the ins and outs of the law too but that's no excuse for one to use his/her status or profession as a tool to commit an offense like this. There are laws even a cop can't break, no one is above the law.

This guy gives cops a bad name. Between now and his hanging, whenever that will be - he will have time to consider the potentials he had in his career and how he wasted for his selfish ambitions.

Don't feel sorry for this criminal at all. He blew it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I remember when he was arrested it all sounded strange and I don't think he did it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@ therougou, I am not sure that I agree with you, its not black and white as you seem to think, motive to kill? what motive, where? his late wife had concerns about bringing the children up, but thats no different to other parents we all worry. as for the scratch, well that could have been done at any time, may be getting some shopping out of the car and passed a bag and she caught his arm, ask your self this question, if some had there hands around your throat, would the assailant have just a scratch on there arm? if it was me he would have LOTS of scratches, and deep ones, even a broken nose, to, but one one scratch,?? if he went to work he must be one cool guy, his body language would have changed, he would have been scared s***less, and why would you kill your kids??? sorry this is not adding up.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If he did it, good !!..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I do hope the court has more information than given in this article and the Japan Times article reference by a poster above, which I read. Of course I don´t know if the guy did it, and think it is quite likely he did. But a death sentence on the basis of as little evidence as described here seems outrageous to me. Some scraped off skin under one fingernail from someone you live with and have sex with? Seriously??? What happened to in dubio pro reo?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

shake and bake judges

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

any of these kids look like they have had 20 years experience as lawyers defending and prosecuting? nope- they just went to cooke-cutter become a judge school

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Eye for an eye.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The judges in the photo are the professionals. There was also a lay judge group involved in the decision, meaning ordinary members of the public, some of whom gave interviews shown in the news last night.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not to be an apologist, but doesn't the evidentary standard seem low? Does "reasonable doubt" not apply, here? "...after the police recovered his DNA under one of his wife's fingernails, suggesting she scratched him in a struggle. Nakata also had an injury to his arm which prosecutors argued was caused by his wife trying to defend herself..."

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Sounds like circumstantial evidence to me.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I truly hope the judges showed are not the ones convicting...I feel older than they are at my relative medium age !

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Note to self... always observe wife scrubbing under her fingernails before leaving home.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Justice hope they keep him on death row for years to come.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Fantastic. Very happy to hear that

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Another thought about DNA under neath her finger nails, how about one night she had a night mare, and woke up in a panic and grabbed his arm for reassurance? we've all done it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Brian

how about one night she had a night mare, and woke up in a panic and grabbed his arm for reassurance? we've all done it.

Your grasping at straws. By your logic, only someone that admits to a crime can be convicted.

I can't comment more on the scratch wound unless I actually saw pictures of it. But your scratch theories don't explain how only 4 people were in a house and 3 people got strangled to death. Was there a ghost involved?! The only other possible explanation would be that the mother killed the 2 children, and the father killed the mother as revenge, but this claim was never made as far as we know. In fact, the murderer lied and said his family was still sleeping when he left for work.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

therougou:

only 4 people were in a house and 3 people got strangled to death.

Yes we know that. But have they conclusively proved that no one else could have entered the house? Do they have 360 degree video footage of the house from the time he left until the bodies where found? I have no idea, but the article does not say so. The article only mentions DNA under one fingernail.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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