Japan court upholds life term for murderer of Vietnamese girl
A Japanese court on March 23 upheld a life sentence for Yasumasa Shibuya over the 2017 murder of a 9-year-old Vietnamese girl named Le Thi Nhat Linh.
|The family of the murdered Vietnamese girls attends a press conference. (Photo: VNA)|
Prosecutors and the victim’s family had sought the death penalty for Shibuya.
The Tokyo High Court rejected an appeal by Shibuya, the 49-year-old former head of a parent’s group at Mutsumi Daini Elementary School in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, over the murder of Linh who was a third-grader at the school.
It also rejected the defense claim that DNA evidence used to convict him should be excluded as it was collected through illegal means, reported Kyodo News.
According to the Chiba District Court ruling in July 2018, Shibuya abducted Linh while she was on her way to school on March 24, 2017. Her body was found near a drainage ditch in the city of Abiko, Chiba Prefecture, two days later.
The district court sentenced Shibuya to life in prison on the basis that his DNA was found on the victim's body, while blood found in his car contained the girl's DNA.
But in an appeal trial that began in September 2019, the defense team argued cigarette butts used for DNA profiling should have been inadmissible as they were obtained without a search warrant from a garbage collection site at the condo where Shibuya lived.
They asked that the sentence be quashed and Shibuya acquitted.
Prosecutors had countered that the investigation method was legal as the cigarette butts had been discarded and were found among the defendant's garbage at an unlocked collection site.
The Tokyo High Court on January 31 began the second hearing in an appeal trial against a lower court ruling that sentenced a Japanese man to life in prison over the murder of a Vietnamese girl in 2017.