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Murder defendant denies any intent to kill his victim

Date Posted: 2010-06-11

Japan’s new citizen judge-jury system took on a high profile case this week in an initial public hearing for a man accused of stabbing to death his victim.

The defendant, Masaru Miyara, pleaded innocent to intending to murder the victim, but has confessed to the actual murder. “Yes, he admits he stabbed the victim with a knife and killed him,” explained the defendant’s lawyer. “He didn’t intend to kill him. The defendant was just showing the knife to the victim, trying to scare and threaten him,” he added, “but the victim then tried to grasp at the defendant, who was trying to shake free from the victim.”

The 60-year-old businessman Miyara is accused of killing died of stab wounds to both his chest and backside. Police characterize Miyara as a member of a gang. The murder took place last October at the Okinawa Minami exit of the Okinawa Expressway. Miyara insists he was merely trying to get free from his victim, and says he’d even forgotten he had a knife.

Prosecutors tell a different story, of a Miyara angry at the victim because hadn’t repaid a loan, and was trying to extend the time of when it would be repaid. Police and the prosecutors argue Miyara made the appointment to see the victim at the Expressway exit, then attacked and stabbed him a total of 13 times in the chest, stomach and back.

The defense attorney countered, arguing his client “was confused and he didn’t feel or recognize he was killing the victim.” The Naha District Court rendered a 13-year jail sentence to Miyara yesterday.

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