crime

Man sentenced to death for killing mother, baby daughter in 1999 seeks retrial

35 Comments

A man who was sentenced to death for killing a young mother and her baby daughter when he was a minor has filed a motion for a retrial with the Hiroshima High Court, his lawyer said Monday.

Takayuki Otsuki was 18 when he raped and strangled 23-year-old Yayoi Motomura and then strangled to death her 11-month-old daughter Yuka on April 14, 1999, in Hikari City, Yamaguchi Prefecture. Otsuki appealed the ruling in February, but the Supreme Court denied his appeal.

Otsuki's lawyer says he plans to present new evidence challenging the original forensic analysis and psychiatric tests.

The case captured the public's imagination as the distraught father and husband Hiroshi Motomura fought for years to bring the killer to justice.

The high-profile case also generated a debate in Japan on how to deal with violent juvenile criminals and whether they should be named by the media.

Otsuki, who is now 31, was found guilty in 2000 and initially jailed for life by a district court, with judges citing the fact that he was a juvenile -- deemed as anyone below 20 under the Juvenile Act -- for their leniency.

The sentence was upheld by the Hiroshima High Court in 2002 following an appeal by the prosecution.

The decisions led Motomura to tell media that he would wait for Otsuki's release and kill him.

However, following a long campaign by Motomura, the case was finally heard in 2006 by the Supreme Court, which asked the high court to review the sentence. It said the original court decision failed to offer clear rationale to avoid the death penalty.

Two years later the high court changed its decision and passed the death sentence on Otsuki.

In the final ruling, Justice Seishi Kanetsuki said the defendant's criminal responsibility is so significant that the court must approve the death penalty, even though he was a juvenile at the time of the crime.

The court heard that Otsuki's father regularly beat him and his mother. The mother committed suicide when he was young.

© Japan Today/AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

35 Comments
Login to comment

I hope he is not granted his re-trail.

I remember seeing interviews with the husband, and it was just so sad.

This guy deserves to hang for his crimes. 18 is not a child and you are responsible for your actions, whether his father beat him regularly or not.

10 ( +11 / -0 )

the usual tactics...i mean if your father beats you that does make you a rapist?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

so he seeks retrial for the guilty verdict, or for the death sentence?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It happened in 1999 and still this case isnt closed. Feel very sorry for the father to have this drag on for sooo long. He needs closure period.

5 ( +7 / -1 )

The US and Japan may be the only modern nations left with the death penalty, but Japan is the ONLY modern nation that permits it to be levied on those who were minors when they committed their crime. Shame shame shame.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

combinibento:

" vhe US and Japan may be the only modern nations left with the death penalty, but Japan is the ONLY modern nation that permits it to be levied on those who were minors when they committed their crime. Shame shame shame. "

So you prefer this animal gets treated leniently because he was a so-called "minor" at the time? Shame indeed.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

@combinibento: you're right. Instead, let's free thus young man and assist him in recovery, HE is the victim after-all... /roll eyes/

4 ( +9 / -5 )

I remember this case. The father fought long and hard. I know he remarried and has his own family now. Though he can never completely bury what happened, it sure as hell doesn't need to be brought up again. The prosecutors want to challenge the original psychiatric test? Why? He was found sane and thus found guilty. If he was "insane", he probably wouldn't ask for a re-trial. The guy does not deserve a re-trial.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Pozzy & WilliB: Did I ever say anything about "freeing the young man"? Or treating him "leniently?" I'm amused you think imprisoning a person for life, i.e., from the age of 18 until death, is "lenient" and somehow soft on crime. To me life imprisonment may be a fair punishment. But under your logic, which apparently does not rule out capital punishment for minors, a 7 year old could be executed. To me that is absurd, and I stand by Justice Kennedy's statement on the issue:

"When a juvenile offender commits a heinous crime, the State can exact forfeiture of some of the most basic liberties, but the State cannot extinguish his life and his potential to attain a mature understanding of his own humanity....Retribution is not proportional if the law’s most severe penalty is imposed on one whose culpability or blameworthiness is diminished, to a substantial degree, by reason of youth and immaturity."

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Instead, let's free thus young man and assist him in recovery, HE is the victim after-all... /roll eyes/

Because the only alternative the the death penalty is of course freedom and a pension, and maybe a medal from the Emperor.

I don't think he deserves a new trial, or to ever again see the light of day. I also don't think any modern nation should be using the death penalty.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Give it up! Why don't you ask Doraemon to get you out jail, you loser!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

i believe in the death penalty and this guy should hang.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

kimuzukashiiiiiOct. 30, 2012 - 07:22AM JST I hope he is not granted his re-trail. I remember seeing interviews with the husband, and it was just so sad. This guy deserves to hang for his crimes. 18 is not a child and you are responsible for your actions, whether his father beat him regularly or not.

If his evidence is strong enough then grant him a retrial. If at the next trial he offers nothing new the set his date and end this already.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I say it so many times and I'll say it again.

Almost all these murderers have absolutely no repentance and guilt for their crimes and horrible actions. Give them life a sentence and they'll file an appeal every single day trying to be a free person in society again.

This guy Takayuki Otsuki is a pure evil scum who has destroyed the life of a young family.

The decisions led Motomura to tell media that he would wait for Otsuki’s release and kill him.

I applaud Motomura san for taking this stance. If the courts cannot deliver justice properly and severely for the nature of the crimes commited, he would have done it himself.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

combinibentoOCT. 30, 2012 - 09:00AM JST To me that is absurd, and I stand by Justice Kennedy's statement on the issue: "When a juvenile offender commits a heinous crime, the State can exact forfeiture of some of the most basic liberties, but the State cannot extinguish his life and his potential to attain a mature understanding of his own humanity....Retribution is not proportional if the law’s most severe penalty is imposed on one whose culpability or blameworthiness is diminished, to a substantial degree, by reason of youth and immaturity."

Well President Kennedy got it wrong. Death for death. Fair and simple. These is zero excuse!

Youth and immaturity. Give me a break! I came from a really screwed-up violent upbringing for almost 15 years of my life. Took a real toll on my mental health, but that in no way is an excuse If I commit any crime, whether it be below or over the age of 18 at the time. A crime is a crime and the perpetrator needs to be pay and be punished in full for his/her actions.

This was the right judgement and I hope no retrial is ever granted again. An unknown date and a rope is waiting for this punk.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

combinibentoOCT. 30, 2012 - 08:12AM JST The US and Japan may be the only modern nations left with the death penalty, but Japan is the ONLY modern nation that permits it to be levied on those who were minors when they committed their crime. Shame shame shame.

I'm sure Yayoi Motomura, the 23 year old wife that was raped and strangled to death, her 11-month-old daughter Yuka who was strangled to death, and the father and husband Hiroshi Motomura don't think the same as you when you say Shame, Shame, Shame.

Maybe you should imagine if you are the father, or a member of this family for a little bit. What shame for this punk and justice delivered ? You feel shame that this minor got the death penalty for this horrific crimes?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Psychiatric report? I think you have to be pretty insane to be able to strangle people to death... no report needed really. As for death penalty.... hmmm.... I would 100% buy it if the death of the criminal can bring back the lives of the victims. If not, i doubt if it's the best punishment/rehabilitation for the criminal...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Agree with Patrick. If we could be 100% certain of guilt in 100% of cases then I would be all for the death penalty. However, there have been too many cases in the US of people on death row later being found innocent. Of course that means innocents have been put to death which any reasonable person should find abhorrent

1 ( +2 / -1 )

He's got a date with the gallows and I hope he doesn't miss it. He deserves to hang for the horrendous and unspeakable crime. So what if he was 18, so what, does that mean if you're 18 you can commit this type of crime? No... the system did right for upholding the death penalty.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Maybe you should imagine if you are the father, or a member of this family for a little bit. What shame for this punk and justice delivered ? You feel shame that this minor got the death penalty for this horrific crimes?

You don't want to got there. Unlike you I needn't imagine anything. I in fact had a family member killed by another teenager, and no, I did not feel the laws of capital punishment should be changed to accomodate my rage. And by the way, my earlier post quoted Justice Kennedy; a living, breathing, sitting Supreme Court Justice. Not the President that died 40 years ago.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If he has evidence to clear his name (hopefully not a fabricated ones), I think he should be given a fair retrial. after all, we don't want the real culprit scot free while an innocent person rot in the jail.

but I would say, saying he is a minor and could not comprehend the result of his action, well, I think as a young adult, he should know, strangling a person could mean death. especially if the said persons were a woman and a child. clearly to me, his action is to cover up the rape.

as for capital punishment, over the years there are many country opposing to it. it might help the accused to repent and atone for his deeds and sins if he is sent to rehabilitation centres on the other hand, the survivors of his action, the family left behind, those are the things that need to be considered.

some people may not repeat the crime after they served the prison terms, others might be repeat offenders who could care less about others.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Some of the comments here just astound me. I live a few miles from Hikari, and work there once a week. I remember when this was going on through the media in the early 2000's - and I remember how happy Motomura, his family and friends were, when the courts changed the verdict to the death penalty.

He should not be given a retrial and should man up and accept his punishment for the disgusting and perverted crimes he committed! If they release this murdering rapist back into society, he won't have to just worry about Motomura 様 coming after him. Pretty much the whole city of Hikari and beyond wants him dead!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

So he's planning to present new evidence challenging exactly what? He raped and killed two, there's no more to look in here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Patrick Smash:

" A lot of us bleeding heart liberals think the safest thing is to imprison people for life. "

And that is where you bleeding heart liberals get it tragically wrong. Behind bars, they are free to scheme for retrials and early release and some such, and inevitably they will find bleeding heart liberal supporters and greedly lawyers who support their case. Meanwhile, society in general and the victims of this monsters have the damocles sword of his realease permanently over their heads.

I am grateful that Japan is still relatively free of these bleeding heart liberals and their well-meant but disastrous ideas.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Just to get the facts straight, the woman was raped after he killed her. I remember this case very well.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The point is that in Japan a minor is 19 years old or younger. If exceptions are made, it makes a mockery of the law. They seem to have changed the "rules" in his case which sets a nasty precedent. Those who say 18 is old enough to know (I agree), but what about 17 or 16 or 15, or 14, or 10? Just keep him locked up and throw away the key. Hanging him would be the easy way out. He's 31 now so let him suffer for the next 50 or 60 years (and he's already been locked up for 12 years) in his cell (and Japanese jails are not fun places to be from what I've heard and read. Not even allowed to talk unless asked to etc.). That is the ultimate punishment really. He's missing out on his life and that's an apt punishment.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The new evidence is that it wasn't doraemon, but pokemon that told him to do it. Seriously, I don't blame Mr. Motomura for the way he feels about this piece of pond scum.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Patrick Smash:

" WilliB, I'm afraid that people like you do not care if innocent people are murdered though, which is tragic really "

I care very much if innocent people are murdered. That is why I want to make 100% sure that vicious murderers do not get a chance to murder again.

Talk about upside down logic...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fah, this is ridiculous. 18 is not a "minor" in any other country, it's only because Japan is molasses slow to change that "20" is still considered the age of adulthood. If you can have sex legally, drive a car and so on, you are nor a child.

@combinibento I think you need to research things more. America is way worse than japan, casually deciding that anyone can be "tried as an adult" for reasons of whimsy. See some info on Wikipedia on the subject. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trial_as_an_adult

That said, I also saw the poor father on the news saying, "Yes, let's release this man, release him immediately into society so I can get my hands on him. Please, I beg you!" This is the kind of thing the death penalty is made for.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@combinibento I think you need to research things more. America is way worse than japan, casually deciding that anyone can be "tried as an adult" for reasons of whimsy. See some info on Wikipedia on the subject. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trialasan_adult

This has nothing to do with trying a minor as an adult. This is about executing a minor. Even minors that are tried as an adult cannot be executed as an adult would be. Get it?? By the way, I didn't need your link to figure that out, but had you read your own wikipage you'd have seen that it says exactly that: "...in 2005 the juvenile death penalty was abolished, and cited as cruel and unusual punishment following the ruling of the Supreme Court in Roper v. Simmons" Now who is schooling who!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This guy should not just be put to death, his organs should be used to help others in need. Think of all the people he could help as a result, will surely make for good repentance.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

good decision ... good judgement (y)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Otsuki’s lawyer says he plans to present new evidence challenging the original forensic analysis and psychiatric tests.

New evidence, new trial.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kill him.

Don't listen to these spineless "humanitarian" people who want to slap him on the wrist. They are a part of the problem and their weakness to shy away from the natural order to administer justice that is due for scum bags like this, is in itself, a kind of violence. Get out of the way.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Allow the husband of the murdered woman to have 30 minutes alone with this guy, and tell him that whatever happens he won't be held responsible. Lets see what happens.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites