A man who killed and dismembered his neighbor in a Tokyo apartment block, had his life sentence finalized Thursday by the Tokyo High Court. The defendant, 34-year-old computer programmer Takanori Hoshijima, was arrested in April of last year over the murder, mutilation and disposal of Rurika Tojo, a 23-year-old woman who lived two doors down from him in Edo Ward.
The prosecution pushed for the death penalty, calling Hoshijima "a brutal and extremely dangerous criminal who is a threat to society." Hoshijima, who received life imprisonment in his original hearing, asked his lawyers to appeal and request the death penalty. Hoshijima did not make an appearance in court on Thursday.
The court, faced with the decision of whether to impose the death penalty in a case with only one victim, referenced the Supreme Court's "Nagayama Criteria," a basic guideline for applying the death sentence. The court came to the decision to avoid the death penalty, by citing: "The murder itself couldn't be called 'extremely cruel,' and we can't put too much emphasis on the way in which the body was disposed."
The prosecution immediately filed an objection, calling the district court's decision too liberal. "The court is looking at the murder itself and the dismembering and disposal of the body as separate acts, ignoring their connection."© News reports