crime

Truck driver sentenced to death for hit-and-run deaths of two people

26 Comments

The Koriyama branch of the Fukushima District Court has sentenced a 51-year-old man to death for the hit-and-run deaths of two people in Miharu, Fukushima Prefecture, last year.

According to the court ruling handed down on Thursday, Yoshitaka Morito, of no fixed occupation or address, was driving a small truck he had stolen, when he hit and killed a 51-year-old man and a 52-year-old woman as they were cutting grass along the side of National Route 288 at around 7:55 a.m. on May 31, Fuji TV reported. After hitting the couple, Morito kept going.

Another worker witnessed the incident and called 110. Morito, who did not have a license to drive a truck, was found four hours later about 20 kilometers away parked on a road in Sukagawa City.

Prosecutors argued that Morito ran the couple down deliberately, while his lawyer said it could not be proven that there was clear intent to kill. 

Morito’s lawyer said he will appeal the ruling.

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26 Comments
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We don't know the full details of the case, but seems hard to prove that this was intentional? Manslaughter would be more appropriate wouldn't it?

4 ( +13 / -9 )

Murder for this crime and the death penalty for this crime seems unusual?

13 ( +17 / -4 )

I'm curious as to the aggravating factors which attracted the death penalty. I have never heard of a hit-and-run resulting in the death penalty before.

14 ( +20 / -6 )

Put to work those gallows !!..

-9 ( +8 / -17 )

We don't know the full details of the case, but seems hard to prove that this was intentional? Manslaughter would be more appropriate wouldn't it?

So you don't know the details, but based on the details you don't know, you think that the people that made judgement, who do know the details, were wrong.

Ok...

4 ( +13 / -9 )

I'm curious as to the aggravating factors which attracted the death penalty. I have never heard of a hit-and-run resulting in the death penalty before.

The aggravating circumstances were in the article:

[Morito] was driving a small truck he had stolen, when he hit and killed a 51-year-old man and a 52-year-old woman

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

The aggravating circumstances were in the article:

stop playing lawyer, you don't know what an aggravating circumstances.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

At long last, after a run of cut and dried decisions, a bone to opponents of the death penalty!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Another news article on this case reported this:

"He said he felt insecure about life outside of jail and was determined to commit a crime “to go back to prison” so he could be fed, clothed and housed."

Apparently, he had been released from prison just two days before this incident. So it seems he did intend to hit them. Whether he intended to kill them may be less clear. I'm not sure about Japanese law and the need for "intent to kill" in a murder conviction. But where I live, this would probably be classed as "gross negligence" and would allow a murder conviction.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Another news article on this case reported this:

"He said he felt insecure about life outside of jail and was determined to commit a crime “to go back to prison” so he could be fed, clothed and housed."

Apparently, he had been released from prison just two days before this incident. So it seems he did intend to hit them.

This explains a lot...in this case he deserves it then. If he wanted to go back to jail he could've just stolen a couple of bentos instead of killing innocent people.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Good, well done to the judge for this punishment. Fantastic news. Hopefully one day those who murder their children will suffer the same verdict.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Homeless and jobless. May 31 when it happened. What this year. A very short time from incident to sentence. Something wrong there. He must have admitted the murder charge then

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Oh, this is scary.

I'm often out on my road bike in the Miharu area. It's great place for cycling.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

May 31 when it happened. What this year. A very short time from incident to sentence. Something wrong there. 

It says right at the beginning, that it happened last year, not last month.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

“Homeless and jobless. May 31 when it happened. What this year. A very short time from incident to sentence. Something wrong there. He must have admitted the murder charge then“

It’s stated in the very first paragraph of the article that it occurred last year. Take a little time to read more carefully, it’ll save confusion.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Smart ruling.

I guess the judge knows that his ruling will be overturned at a higher court but at least that scumbag driver is living with fear for life for the next months in his cell until retrial.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The capital sentence will be overturned on appeal as proving the specific intent necessary to warrant a death sentence is impossible and cannot be surmised from the other evidence. Yes, he stole a vehicle. Yes, he failed to stop after he hit them. Yes, he drove without a license. These do not indicate anything other than general criminal intent and callous disregard for life - but those are different than the higher requirements to justify a capital sentence.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

More truck drivers should read this story....................................and consider their actions in future .

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

If it was intentional, why did he run? So apparently he wanted to go back into jail, so he stole a truck. I think it's far more likely he hit those people accidentally, and panicked. Tragic for everyone.

This guy might be bad, but it's obvious the system has given up on him. I feel sad about this.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Severe & Brutal, i read about people killing daily in Japan, none gets the death penalty !? so why this case is any different? Bad luck? or revenge?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Put to work those gallows !!..

Well, lucky for you that he's no relation of yours!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

If it was intentional, why did he run? So apparently he wanted to go back into jail, so he stole a truck. I think it's far more likely he hit those people accidentally, and panicked

That's a fair point. I mentioned an article from another source above that said he intended to commit a crime to get back to jail. But that crime could have been stealing the truck. It would be helpful if these articles added more info about what was said in court. (Or is the idea to keep us all guessing so we can speculate and argue here?)

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Extremely rare ruling for a hit and run in Japan. Even though this may ne overturned, I hope it serves as a deterrent for this cowardice type of crime.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sorry but he purposely killed two people. (It was stated on the news that he wanted to go back to jail.) You kill two or more people, you're eligible for the death penalty. Purposely hit-and-run two people with a stolen truck which resulted in their deaths. Not much different from going up and stabbing them or smashing them with a blunt object till they die, is it? Whatever way, two innocents lose their lives. Get the rope ready.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Wasnt this the guy who was just released from jail and wanted to go back there to get free accommodation, food, and clothing? Looks like he now got more than he bargained for.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If it wasn't premeditated, it wasn't murder, it was neglegent homicide, or manslaughter.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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