Chilean denies intent to kill scholar

Kyodo

A Chilean man accused of murdering a Japanese professor during a robbery in Santiago has denied intending to kill him, his attorney said.

At a court hearing Friday to examine the grounds for detaining Christopher Quijada, 25, his attorney said Koichiro Morita, 58, died Monday after falling and hitting his head when Quijada tripped him.

Prosecutors allege that Quijada followed Morita to his apartment building in the capital early Monday, and that the professor had apparently tried to flee after spotting him.

Quijada then allegedly grabbed and attacked him in front of the building, stuck Morita in the head and stole 60,000 pesos (about ¥10,000) and his cellphone.

Morita, a professor at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan deployed to Chile, died later the same day.

The court ruled that Quijada, arrested Thursday on suspicion of robbery and murder, be held for 90 days. Trial dates are pending.