crime

Stalker jailed for 16 years for killing ex-girlfriend

35 Comments

A 24-year-old man who fatally stabbed his 22-year-old ex-girlfriend in front of a train station in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture, last November, has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.

The Chiba District Court handed down the sentence on Hayato Oka, TBS reported Tuesday.

The court heard that the victim, Shiori Yuasa, was walking with her three-year-old daughter and 35-year-old fiance with whom she lived when she was attacked by Oka with a kitchen knife about 100 meters from Motoyawata Station on the JR Sobu line at around 4:30 p.m. Witnesses testified that they saw Oka stab Yuasa in the stomach and then run up the station steps, eluding two pursuers.

Oka was detained the next day after arriving by ferry on Hachijo island where he has relatives.

The court heard that Yuasa had contacted police in September to file a complaint against Oka for stalking her. Police said they issued the man a warning but took no further action.

Prosecutors had demanded a sentence of 20 years in prison for Oka. His lawyer said he will appeal the sentence.

© Japan Today

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35 Comments
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16 years for murder? Clearly the punishment does not fit the crime.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Her family and friends must be heartbroken again. Clearly premeditated because of the stalking prior to the attack, and he tried to escape to his relatives. Should be life in prison. 16 years is not a serious sentence for this crime. It's an insult to the victim and her family, added to the tragedy of the police not doing their job in the first place when she came to them for help.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Great! He'll be out at the age of 40, weirder than ever and the poor 22 year old girl will still be dead. Now that's justice! For you none native readers, the last comment is sarcasm.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

This case is a good example of where the death penalty should be used. This maggot has forfeited his right to live in any community. As others have said, he will be released as a quite young man - and the scum is actually appealing against the severity of his light sentence. Rest in Peace to the poor, innocent woman.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

16 years for stalking and murder? What a joke. Life, nothing less is sickening.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

This was a premeditated violent murder in a public place. Shouldn't that fall under the hangman's noose? He'll be out when he is 40! And, his lawyer is gonna appeal the sentence? He'd be doing life where I come from. I wonder what his defense was to get such a short sentence.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Prosecutors had demanded a sentence of 20 years in prison for Oka

Why only 20, is this the max for premeditated murder? Why do they have to shoot that low?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

16 years for murdering someone? That's it?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I wonder what you need to do to get life in prison in Japan....mass murder?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Unbelievable ! Japan is a country where apparently anyone can get away with blue murder... In most other countries the sentence would be LIFE... I know a lot of lawyers have rather "shady" reputations but this one takes the cake...

2 ( +6 / -4 )

"This was a premeditated violent murder in a public place. Shouldn't that fall under the hangman's noose? He'll be out when he is 40! And, his lawyer is gonna appeal the sentence? He'd be doing life where I come from. I wonder what his defense was to get such a short sentence."

I agree, BUT if he or she was other than JN he would get life. Holla at me if you agree, on another tip, its highly likely that "it" would be a repeat offender..highly due to JN ostracism, restrictions, no fixed address, etc or may find refuge with "its family, relative (s), yak inc. for how long that last...

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I agree with everyone who commented about the light sentence that this stalker/murderer was given. He stalks this poor woman, murders her in front of her little child, and is given a sentence of only 16 years. He should have been given and he deserves a life sentence. His crime is horrible, indefensible, and he took a mother away from her child. I am shocked at the light sentence.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

16 years is a joke for premeditated murder.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

total insanity, many get death row for less. the judicial system is not serving justice here.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I guess he showed remorse, seems to do wonders in the courts here. Dexter where are you!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I understand there's a lot to this crime which isn't known to us JT readers, but the simple facts of this case as detailed in the article and the 16 years sentence are so incongruent with one another if boggles my mind. 16 years? So this murderer will walk free at the age of 40 -- still young enough to start a family and have a life. But what of the victim and her daughter? He robbed them of the very same things. 16 years? Seriously? What could the judge have possibly been thinking that equates the taking of a life to being worth a measly 16 years in prison?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It's not nearly enough for premeditated murder. Furthermore, the fact that he ran indicts that he has no remorse for what he did. Life in prison seems a much better outcome. Hopefully the judges will add more to the sentence when his lawyer appeals.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Guys. Justice is served here, 16 years is a long time, all humans should be also given a chance to change, even for the people who committed crimes. If this man changes at least he can use the other half of his life to correct his mistake and maybe influence others to stop committing the same crime he did. He committed a crime but he is still a human being. He also has families who are maybe looking forward see him change, they are also a victim of what he's done. If one of your family members committs a crime wont you desire to have him/her given a chance To change too?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

When is he eligible for parole? Japanese jails seem to be getting busy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If prosecutors are demanding 20 years and the Judge gives 16 years, it means the judge sees significant mitigating circumstances. From what I have heard about this case, I can not imagine what they would be.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The judge probably understand pretty well that living in Japanese society as an ex-con in one's middle ages is more torture to the soul than living in a prison cell. But yes, this is quite a travesty to the victims and their family.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sounds really light to me too. Why only 16 years? Having looked at the Japanese sources I think I get why he was given a light sentence, from a Japanese point of view.

First of all, the prosecution asked for the longest defined (i.e. other than life, or rather "unlimited" 無期) sentence of 20 years I am not sure why they did not ask for life, or why any less than 20 years should have been awarded. Against the accused was the fact that

1) He bound the knife to his hand with tape so that he could use more force 2) He stabbed strongly with abandon causing a wound deeper than the length of the knife both these facts demonstrating strong motivation to kill.

Now as to why he had a light sentence

1) He freely admitted the crime and gave details regarding its execution that were to his own detriment (such perhaps mentioned above - the taping).

2) He had a rough childhood where his mother left with another man, and his father attempted suicide, leaving Oka to be passed among relatives and others.

3) One juror commented, "The accused responded with sincerity (majime ni) and I would like him to continue to apologize to the victims family and reflect (hansei) upon his deed. " (the two jurors quoted where women incidentally).

4) The defence claimed that he was at his wits end and lost the plot - i.e. a crime of passion.

5) Aha...As a result of his rough childhood Oka was highly invested in creating a good home, and when he lived with the victim, he had been a hard-working, nappy-changing, bathing, generally child-caring father to the victim's older daughter though she was not his own by blood. The couple had been planning to purchase a house together, and watching "his" daughter grow up was his motivation for living. After 18 months however, the victim left with another man - causing his first act of violence. The murder was directly preceded by the victim's refusal to allow Oka to give a present as a celebration on the birth of a younger sister. One newspaper described the crime as an explosion of love for an estranged daughter. On a previous stalking attempt the older child had called out "Papa" to Oka, who, not wanted to cause stress to the older child did not reply.

6) Oka was caught heading to an island "where he has relative"s, and also the place of his father's grave. I have seen no newspaper reference, but I guess that the fact that both Oka and his father lost "their children," after a mother left with another man, may have affected the trial proceedings also.

And, as I often say Japan is all about parental love, perhaps even to an unrealistic extent, so crimes seen as motivated by parental love are likely to get lighter sentences. I also feel a link to Japanese custodial rights.

Here is the long version of the Japanese http://news.livedoor.com/article/detail/8868780/

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Great! He'll be out at the age of 40, weirder than ever and the poor 22 year old girl will still be dead.

and at 40 he will be able to find a great job to support himself and become a upstanding contributing member of society!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

If one of your family members committs a crime wont you desire to have him/her given a chance To change too?

yeah, but what about the woman's family? what about her son?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

16 years for murder very lenient sentence ... he should spend his live behind bars .. after 2~3 years will be paroled and kill again .. like other criminals.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

In general, are sentences of this kind practiced in countries with high murder rates, or low murder rates?

Before getting all "hang 'em high" on us, it might be smart to stop and think about that question.

Yes, this murder was heinous, doubly so because it was done in front of her child at an age just enough to be aware. For that, It would be life in my court. But I cannot deny that the Japanese way has led to a low murder rate.

And if you think 16 years is a snap, I challenge you to lock yourself in your apartment for 16 years and see what you think at the end of it. I think its a medium sentence and not light.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

@ TimTak - I fail to see how this evil crime could even remotely be viewed by anyone as "motivated by parental love". The worst thing anyone could possibly do to a child is slaughter her mother in front of her. The polar opposite of parental love. The poor child will be haunted for life by this selfish and bitter killer.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

japan is amaesugiru when it comes to heinous crimes.. and its their culture not comparable to others..

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Life is cheap.

Under Japanese law it is, at any rate.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

BurakuminDes

I agree that the daughter, that he supposedly loved, will have been maimed beyond my comprehension by having her once "papa" kill her mother in front of herself and her new papa. And I do believe that the killer was deeply "bitter".

It may even be the case that the killer was acting out his own trauma and misogyny and was in a sense trying to kill his own mother for leaving him and his father. It is even possible that subconsciously he chose the victim as partner in order that he could act out his PTSD revenge fantasy. The fact that he claimed to have been heading towards his father's grave suggests this to me.

I am not sure what you mean by "evil." Bitter, yes, selfish yes. Twisted, screwed up, PTSD, and acting out, yes. If that makes him evil then evil too. But, the reason for my post above, was to attempt to understand why he got a sentence that many of us (myself included when I read the article) felt to be too light.

I have heard it said that in Italy in the past at least, if someone found their spouse in bed with another person and murdered either their spouse or that other, then they were given lighter that UK sentences. I think that if one taps into narratives that jurors can place themselves into (are the jurors twisted, in Italy, in Japan?) then one can get a lighter sentence.

I think that this murderer's life and crime did just that: he appeared to be in role that the jurors could feel for.

Further, this may make me sound as if I am condoning this criminal more, which is not my intent, but another issue may be related to appearances. There is a lot of research to show that jurors are affected by appearances with beautiful people getting lighter sentences than those that are not so beautiful for instance.

In this case, in this crime, the murderer is thin, young, fit and of conventional Japanese appearance. Judging by Google image searches of the victim's name, the tragically slain victim was (at times prior to her cruel and tragic murder) blonde and heavily eye made up lady - with a taste for "Gal" (gyaru) fashion. I wonder if this may have again turned the jury towards leniency towards the ("majime") accused. None of this would have been in any way fair. The deciding factor is what people sympathize with. Is there any other tribunal than this?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

16 years punishment, a life gone forever and a lifetime of trauma for the fiancé and possibly the 3 year old too. If the same thing to my wife while I was present, would have given him the death penalty on the spot.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Out by forty. Too light!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A life should be given for a life. There is no other way to deter such maniacs. they do not care for reason and listen only to the danger of losing their own life. there is no rational plea that can justify not executing him immediately on proof being found he commited the murder..no trial, no legal waste, immediate execution...and reperations from his family to the slain girls..and the daughter.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

To the pathetic long-term foreigners here defending the Japanese judicial system... Shame on you pathetic sad lot. When was it that you pathetic fakes sold yourselves out to be 'in Japan'? This is disgusting, and it is not how a civilized society should operate

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

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