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