A 25-year-old man was sentenced to life in prison for killing a 7-year-old girl last year in Niigata City.
The Niigata District Court handed down its ruling Wednesday against Haruka Kobayashi at the conclusion of the trial which began on Nov 8. Prosecutors had sought the death sentence.
According to the ruling, Kobayashi intentionally hit Tamaki Omomo with his car while she was on way home from school on May 7, 2018. He then put her in the car, molested her and strangled her to death before abandoning her body on a railway track to make it appear as though she had been killed by a train.
Kobayashi was arrested one week later for abandoning and damaging Omomo's body, and was later served another arrest warrant on suspicion of murdering her.
Kobayashi, who lived in the same neighborhood as the victim, initially told police that his car "collided" with the child. But an autopsy found she had been strangled to death. Brown paint from Omomo's backpack was also found on Kobayashi's car.
Kobayashi emerged as a possible suspect from an early stage of the investigation as he had been referred to prosecutors one month prior to the murder over an alleged violation of the prefecture's juvenile protection ordinance after driving around with a female junior high school student in his car.
Police said he abandoned Omomo’s body on the railroad track between 10:20 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on May 7. He failed to show up that day at the electrical engineering company where he worked and sent an email in the late afternoon saying that he was feeling unwell. He never returned to his place of employment, according to the company president.© Japan Today