I’m sorry, but I don’t remember.
When asked by the presiding judge, the defendant denied the charges against him.
On September 26, the Saitama District Court heard the first trial of Akimasa Watanabe, 60, an unemployed defendant charged with manslaughter and other crimes. Watabe pleaded not guilty to the charges. The prosecution strongly criticized the defendant, saying, “The circumstances that led to the crime were extremely selfish and worthy of condemnation.”
The incident occurred in July 2020.
Watanabe allegedly entered the home of a 46-year-old woman, Ms. A, with whom he was dating at the time, and attempted to strangle and kill her daughter, a teenager. The daughter called for help, and a neighbor called the police.
The daughter’s case was not the only one that came to light. When the Saitama Prefectural Police investigated Watanabe’s home, they found Ms. A’s body. The cause of death was asphyxiation. There were marks on her neck as if she had been strangled. The police also arrested Watanabe on suspicion of Ms. A’s murder. It is known that Watabe had strangled a woman he had been in a relationship with in the past, using a belt or something similar, and that this had led to trouble.
Both wrists were tied in front of the body and …
FRIDAY Digital covered the scene immediately after the incident, and obtained graphic testimony from a neighbor, from whom Ms. A’s daughter called for help.
They said, “They’re going to kill us! They’re going to kill me! The girl was banging on our window, screaming, ‘I’m going to be killed! Help! Help! She looked terrified. At first glance, I was astonished by the bizarre sight. She was naked and her wrists were tied in front of her body. I called the police on the spot. The police arrived about five minutes later. The girl was immediately taken into custody.”
Watanabe and Ms. A. appeared to be a loving couple. Another resident said, “The man (Watabe) was at Mr. A’s house.”
I saw a man (defendant Watanabe) at Mr. A’s house. I thought he was the father of the family. He seems like a kind man. When I passed at him in the morning, he would greet me with a ‘good morning,’ so I thought he was a soft-spoken man.
However, it seems that there was constant quarreling between the two. A resident continues, “They seemed to fight sometimes.”
Sometimes I heard loud voices, as if they were fighting. “You bitch! You bastard! and a man would yell at Ms. A with a terrible words. The woman kept apologizing, saying, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” she kept apologizing. I was surprised at the gap between the man’s calm impression that I usually meet.
Two years after the incident, Watabe’s first trial began. What was the basis for the defense’s claim of innocence?
According to the defense, Watabe was an alcoholic, and under the influence of alcohol, he was in a state of insanity. When he came to his senses, ‘Ms. A was already motionless on the bed,’ he claimed.
The prosecution, on the other hand, claimed that ‘the defendant pretended that the woman (Ms. A) was alive after the crime and contacted her daughter.’ They point out that ‘it is unacceptable that alcohol can suddenly change a person’s personality.’
The verdict is scheduled to be handed down on October 21.
Photographed by： Shinji Hasuo