The defendant is sentenced to nine years in prison.”
The jury trial in the case of Hidemi Miyazaki, 27, who was found dead in her apartment in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, in September 2009, has been held at the Saitama District Court since February 20, 2009.
Ken Tomita (Suguru), 33, who was arrested as the culprit on the charge of manslaughter, looked down and shook his head slightly from side to side as the verdict was handed down.
Tomita, who is accused of strangling Miyazaki to death, had consistently denied committing the crime since his arrest, but the sentence was almost exactly what the prosecutors had asked for, 10 years.
The victim, Ms. Miyazaki, said she had been unable to contact him since the morning three days before the incident was revealed. When a concerned acquaintance visited her apartment, he found her changed.
I turned the doorknob and was surprised to find it unlocked,” Miyazaki said. I went into the room, calling out, ‘Hidemi, are you there?’ I found Hidemi lying on the futon. Her skin was reddish purple, so I thought she might be dead, and when I touched her arm, it was cold. I panicked and called 110.
Before the incident, Ms. Miyazaki had consulted the police about domestic violence by a former boyfriend, but she did not seem to be in any notable trouble since then.
While there were few clues to the murderer, on October 21, a month and a half after the discovery of the body, Tomita, who was said to have met the victim on SNS, was arrested. At the time, Tomita lived in Higashimurayama City, Tokyo, and was working as a temporary worker.
Tomita and Miyazaki met in June 2009. They met through a SNS application called “KoeTomo. After communicating on LINE several times, they began having drinks at Ms. Miyazaki’s home.
On September 3, the day of the alleged incident, Tomita drove to Ms. Miyazaki’s apartment in a rental car he rented near her home. This was the third time he met Ms. Miyazaki. The LINE communication with Tomita on the way to Ms. Miyazaki’s home is believed to be the last record of communication and phone calls between the two.
“As we were smoking and talking in the room, Mr. Miyazaki, who was sitting on the futon, suddenly started making strange noises. He was sitting on a futon mattress when suddenly he started making strange noises, like ‘gah’ and ‘guah. I asked him, “Are you okay? but he did not respond at all. Eventually, he started crying, pressing his face against the futon.
At that time, the intercom rang. Ms. Miyazaki sometimes became mentally unstable, and a visiting nurse regularly came to check on her. That day was the day of the home-visit nurse.
“From outside the door, she said, ‘Are you all right? ‘ ‘You’re not feeling well, are you?’ I heard a voice saying, ‘You’re not feeling well, are you? I asked Mr. Miyazaki, ‘Don’t you have to answer the door?’ but there was no response, so I decided to ignore them.
However, the testimony of the visiting nurse differed from that of Tomita.
When I arrived at Mr. Miyazaki’s room, I heard a voice that sounded like a scream. I thought she was in bad shape, so I rang the intercom and asked her, ‘Is she all right? I put my ear to the door. When I put my ear to the door, I heard a thumping sound like a body hitting the door, and then I heard a voice saying, ‘Oye, oye,’ twice. When I continued to ring the intercom, I heard a metallic click, and I thought the door chain had been put on,” said the home care nurse.
Since she had been unable to get the door open before, she put the visitation slip in the door post and left that day. Tomita looked through the door scope and confirmed that the visiting nurse had left.
He said, “Then I waited for a while, but she didn’t seem to be recovering at all, so I decided to leave. When I left the house, Mr. Miyazaki was certainly alive. (After leaving the house) I decided to stop associating with her and deleted my LINE account.
The investigation revealed that on the day Tomita returned home, he searched “Kumagaya News” on the Internet. Even after it was reported that Mr. Miyazaki had died, he continued to access further news reports of “Mr. Miyazaki’s murder. As to the reason for this, defendant Tomita said, “I was interested in the developments in the case because someone I knew had died.
Furthermore, Tomita’s puzzling searches continued: since September 3, Tomita has searched the Internet for phrases such as “LINE’s response to the investigative authorities,” “the sentence for the murder,” and “the location information mechanism of the Ipod Touch. An acquaintance testified that while Tomita did not own an Ipod Touch, Ms. Miyazaki was using it. When asked by the defense attorney why he searched for an Ipod Touch that he did not own, Tomita replied, “I read about the Ipod Touch in someone’s post and was curious, so I searched for it.
The prosecution pointed out that a mixture of Mr. Miyazaki’s and Tomita’s DNA had been found on the collar of Mr. Miyazaki’s pajamas, and that after the incident, he acted in a manner that only a criminal would act. He added, “The manner in which he continued to strangle her until she suffocated to death is dangerous and malicious. He made irrational statements and showed no remorse.
On the other hand, the defense argued that a third party’s DNA, which did not belong to Mr. Miyazaki, was found on the collar of his pajamas, and that the strangulation was not the only occasion on which Mr. Tomita’s DNA was attached to his neck. He pleaded not guilty.
On March 10, the day of the verdict.
After the incident, Tomita deleted his LINE account, and on his way home, he took the expressway to the Gunma area. He also suddenly started searching the Internet for information that he had never looked up before. The judge noted that these actions “inferred that he was themurderer,” and stated that the fact that Tomita’s DNA was found on the collar of Ms. Miyazaki’s pajamas “is a fact that supports that he is the murderer.
The presiding judge did not accept Tomita’s plea of ” false accusation.” However, the verdict was reached in a way that did not reach Ms. Miyazaki’s sister, who tearfully pleaded that she wished the defendant had been tried for murder.
Interview and text： Nakahira Ryo Photo： Shinji Hasuo