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Classmate killer sentenced

Date Posted: 2003-08-08

A youngster who beat a classmate to death will be confined to a Children’s Self Help Education Center outside Okinawa. The Naha District Family Court sentenced the 13-year-old schoolboy who killed a fellow student and then buried his body at a graveyard in Chatan Town last June 27. He will be held in the center until age 20, when he becomes an adult. In Japan, children under 20 cannot be held criminally responsible and have to be sentenced by a family court. As Okinawa has no such facility, he will serve his time outside the prefecture.

In handing down the decision, Judge Shinobu Shinagawa said, “this 13-year-old boy knew that his victim would die if he continued the beating, but still he did not stop. That means he killed the victim on purpose.”

The lawyer representing the 13-year-old accused said that he was considering taking the case to a higher court. “I will discuss with the family court judge and the boy’s family about this case, as I think that he would be better served by having him in the Koza Children’s Center here in Okinawa where his family could visit and better stay in contact with him.”

The judge says he decided to send the boy to the Education Center, a harsher institution than the children’s home, because of the violent nature of the crime, but agrees that the boy could stay in Okinawa for a while. “He could stay at Koza Children’s Center until May 2005 when he turns 15,” the judge said.

The three 14-year-old boys and one girl that took part in the beating will appear in front of the family court shortly. Because of their age, the police were able to arrest them, and they face different kinds of procedures.

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