The Kobe District Court on Friday sentenced a 49-year-old man to death for the murder of a 6-year-old Kobe girl in 2014.
The defendant, Yasuhiro Kimino, had pleaded guilty to the murder of Mirei Ikuta sometime between Sept 11 and Sept 16, 2014. The girl's body parts were found in bags in a wooded area near Kimino's apartment on Sept 23, 12 days after she disappeared.
Kimino admitted strangling the girl with a nylon cord after luring her to his apartment by promising to draw a picture of her.
The sentence was handed down by a panel of three professional and six lay judges, Fuji TV reported. Presiding Judge Takeshi Samo said there could be no leniency for such a brutal crime and that Kimino had shown a total disregard for the child's life.
During the 10-day trial, the court heard that police found a rucksack belonging to Ikuta in Kimino’s apartment. They also found bloodstains which matched Ikuta’s in the bathroom and other places in his apartment. Underneath the bathtub was a knife believed to have been used to cut up Ikuta’s body. In addition, Kimino's hospital registration card and cigarette butts were found in one of the bags with the body parts. DNA on the butts matched that of Kimino.
Kimino, who attempted suicide on Oct 26, 2014, by stabbing the back of his neck with a ballpoint pen, was judged mentally competent last year to stand trial.
Prosecutors said that on the day Ikuta disappeared -- Sept 11 -- Kimino had been watching porn videos on his computer. They contend that he shadowed the girl and lured her into his apartment to pose for a drawing. They said he killed the girl to prevent anyone from finding out that he had taken her back to his apartment.
Street surveillance camera footage showed Kimino, drinking what appears to be a can of beer and walking a short distance behind Ikuta, two hours before she disappeared.
Police said that after they examined the footage, they visited Kimino on Sept 16 to ask him if he knew anything about Ikuta's disappearance but said there was nothing out of the ordinary about his behavior. Kimino also told police he was drunk and couldn't remember even seeing Ikuta walking ahead of him.
Kimino said he just wanted to be friends with Ikuta and draw a picture of her because he thought she was cute.
Local media have reported that Kimino may have lured Ikuta to his apartment by using cats. A resident in the same apartment building, who has a number of cats, said Ikuta came to play with the cats on at least three occasions during the summer of 2014. The apartment building is about 150 meters from her home.
Kimino's lawyer said he will appeal the ruling, saying he was under the influence of alcohol and that he regretted his actions.© Japan Today