“Oh, really? Really? Wait a minute. Wait a minute.
“I don’t even have any idea about indecency while I was alive. That’s why I don’t know anything about it. No way!
Courtroom 102 of the Tokyo High Court on September 30. The monitor on the witness stand was playing a video recording of the interrogation.
In the video, Ryo Kobayashi, 27, is wearing a black short-sleeved t-shirt and answering the police officer’s questions in a very youthful manner. In the courtroom that day, he was wearing a black suit and a shaved head with a mask, looking at the video quietly.
The incident took place on May 7, 2018. Kobayashi is accused of murdering a second-grade girl, A, then 7, in Niigata City and dumping her body on the railroad tracks.
According to the indictment, at around 3:20 p.m. on the same day, Kobayashi crashed a light car he was driving in Nishi Ward, Niigata City, into the buttocks of A, who was on her way to school. He took the fallen Ms. A in his arms and placed her in the back seat of the mini car, then put pressure on her neck to knock her out, and started the car.
Between 3:28 p.m. and 3:59 p.m., he touched the lower half of Ms. A’s body and indecently assaulted her in the parking lot of “Nagisa no Fureai Hiroba” in the same ward. After she regained consciousness, he killed her by pressing on her neck for more than five minutes. Later, at around 10:25 p.m., he dumped Ms. A’s body on the tracks of the JR East Echigo Line. The train later ran over the body and severed the neck.
In the first trial held at the Niigata District Court in 2019, Kobayashi denied committing indecent acts against Ms. A before she died and denied intending to kill her. The prosecution, on the other hand, claimed that Kobayashi had the intention to kill her. “The Niigata District Court handed down a sentence of life imprisonment. The Niigata District Court, however, ruled that Kobayashi had the intent to kill at the time of the crime and that he had committed indecent acts before his death.
Both the prosecution and the defense filed appeals against the first trial decision, and the case has been under appeal at the Tokyo High Court since last September.
On this day, prior to the questioning of the accused, a video recording of the interrogation by police officers and prosecutors immediately after the arrest was played; in the video, which lasted for an hour and a half, Kobayashi, at the time of his arrest in 2018, did not admit to indecent behavior toward Ms. A for some time before her death, as shown in the beginning.
On the other hand, the police officer in charge of the investigation tells Kobayashi that there was some kind of assault on Ms. A before she died because there was a biological reaction on her body. In the video, such exchanges continued for a while.
The police officer said, “The traces on the body, as I’ve said many times before, there’s no doubt that something happened to her while she was alive.
Kobayashi : “I see…. Oh, no. He’s definitely alive, isn’t he? Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Oh, no. Huh. ……”
At the end of the story, however, he admitted that he had indecently assaulted Ms. A before she died, on the night of the month following the crime, which was the anniversary of her death.
The night after the crime, on the day of her death, she said, “I made her take down her school bag, and then I took down her pants. I don’t let her take them off completely, but I slip them down to her knees, and at this point, I put my finger in her XXX (genitals).
The video shows her vividly explaining the sequence of events. The video shows him vividly explaining the sequence of events. The banned word for genitals is repeatedly used during the interrogation. Toward the end of the video, the prosecutor asked him how he felt about his decision to admit to the crime, and he replied, “They talked about the anniversary of my death, and I thought, ‘Oh, there’s something I haven’t told you, but I’m going to have to tell you sooner or later. I said it.
However, she later changed her statement, saying that she had not committed any indecent acts before her death. In the questioning session after the video was shown, when the defense lawyer asked him the reason for his statement, Kobayashi explained as follows.
“The investigator kept telling me that he had ‘incriminating evidence,’ and I thought he was doing it even though he didn’t remember, so I said something like that. I had been talking with the investigator for a long time, and I got emotional, and I couldn’t resist because he told me that there was a situation in which I could never move.
As for the reason for her appeal, she said, “The facts about the indecent acts and the intention to kill before her death are different from mine. I would like you to correct them. I want to atone for my crimes after correcting them.
At the beginning of the questioning, Kobayashi stood up and bowed deeply to the victim’s representative and the bereaved family sitting beside the prosecutor, saying, “I am sorry that my selfishness caused you to be involved in this case, and that it left you with a deep wound that will never heal! He apologized.
Three years after the incident, he hadn’t sent a single apology to the bereaved family.
At the end of the defendant’s questioning, the bereaved family, a victim participant, asked him if his apology was genuine.
The bereaved family: “Your apology at the beginning, almost the same as at the first trial, do you think such a performance will be conveyed?”
The defendant said, “Well, it’s difficult. I feel that way.”
Survivors: “Do you remember what the judge said to you after the first trial decision?”
Defendant: “Yes, feelings, you have to convey them. She said that she was often scolded. I don’t know if it’s correct to say that I was scolded a lot. ……”
Survivor: “Do you remember being told to ‘get down on your knees every day, as many times as you can’?”
Defendant: “I remember, yes.
The family of the deceased said, “Even in the detention center, you were told to get down on your knees as many times as possible every day to masturbate, because you didn’t apologize enough. Are you doing it?”
The defendant said, “At the detention center, I just put my hands together, I’m sorry.
At the trial, the defendant showed his apology to the bereaved family, but when he left the courtroom, he did not do anything to convey his apology to the bereaved family, but instead indulged in masturbation. Three years have passed since the incident, but the defendant has never sent any letter of apology, and has never agreed to pay the 80 million yen in damages for the incident, according to the family’s questions.
The bereaved family said, “Since there was nothing from your side, we investigated your bank accounts and found two of your accounts, one with a zero balance and the other with 190 yen. Who is managing the accounts?”
Defendant: “If I remember correctly, it’s my mother.”
The bereaved family: “Then, the zero yen, did you withdraw it after the incident and use it for you and for yourselves?”
Defendant: “Uh, well, I don’t know that much about it, so I’ll hurry up and check.
The bereaved family said, “You lie without hesitation and have little remorse. You say, “I will support the defendant and suffer with him to make amends,” but you do nothing and lie without hesitation. That’s your parent. Who do you think will trust you?”
Defendant: “You’re right. Defendant: “You’re right. I’ll confirm it as soon as possible. ……”
No matter how much the defendant excuses himself, his lack of apology is unavoidable. When the defense attorney stood up again, perhaps to help him out of his predicament, and urged him to “tell them what you are going to tell them here at the end,” the defendant stood up, turned to the bereaved family, and got down on his knees.
The defendant stood up, turned to the bereaved family and got down on his knees, “I apologize for my repeated rudeness. Please let me say, I am sorry. I will spend the rest of my life apologizing and making amends, even at the cost of my life. I don’t expect you to forgive me for this. …… I’m sorry.”
The defendant stood up and sat down in front of the witness stand, and the defense attorney asked him in a very loud voice, “Are you crying?
“Are you crying?
But the defendant was not crying.
I wonder how the family of the deceased took this exchange, which made even the audience feel as if they were witnessing a grand farce, wondering what on earth was going on. The defendant said he was sorry in court, but did nothing to apologize. It was as if he did not realize that he had caused an irreparable incident and that the bereaved family had expressed their indignation towards Kobayashi and his family.
Both the prosecution and the defense are expected to present their arguments at the end of the year.
Reporting and writing： Yuki Takahashi
Observer. Freelance writer. She is a freelance writer, and has published several books, including "Tsukebi no mura: gossip killed five people? (Shobunsha), "Runaway Old Man, Crime Theater" (Yosen-sha Shinsho), "Kanae Kijima: The Secret of Dangerous Love" (Tokuma Shoten), "Kanae Kijima Gekijo" (Takarajimasya), "Kasumikko Club: Daughters' Court Hearings" (Shinchosha), and many other works based on interviews on murder cases and court hearings.
Photography： Junpei Kota