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Prosecutors demand 5 to 8 years for juvenile killer

Date Posted: 2003-12-18

Prosecutors are demanding a 5-8 year jail sentence for a 17-year-old high school boy who beat a 13-year-old junior high school student, Tsutomu Zamami, to death and then buried his body in a cemetery in Chatan in June. The boy, who cannot be identified because he is a minor, was indicted as an adult on charges of murder and abandoning the body of the victim. The Naha Family Court had referred the case to the Naha Public Prosecutors Office recommending that he be tried as an adult.

The accused denied that he intended to kill the victim. “Although I hit him repeatedly with a wooden stick I did not expect him to die,” the defendant said at the hearing. But the prosecutors claim otherwise. “The defendant was clearly aware that the victim might die,” the prosecutors said in their closing statement. They cited a witness testimony that quoted the accused saying to a friend “I’m going to kill that boy. I hate him, he’s a liar.”

The defendant’s lawyers argued that the death of the victim was not intended and amounted to an involuntary manslaughter. The panel of three judges is scheduled to rule on the case on Feb. 23.

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