Defense hits probing of confessed ‘cycle-by’ assaults>

A 20-year-old man who confessed to “cycle-by” attacks on women in Tokyo
and Saitama prefectures earlier this year denied in his first trial hearing
Wednesday that he intended to kill a man with whom he had been living.

Yuji Sugita is accused of attempted murder in an incident in which he
stabbed the man with a chisel early Aug. 9 on a street in Itabashi Ward,
Tokyo. The man, whose name is being withheld, sustained injuries that
required 10 days of treatment.

During questioning, investigators noticed Sugita’s resemblance to drawings
of the suspect in a series of cycle-by attacks and questioned him about
those assaults. Sugita then presented a report to police in which he
confessed his involvement, then later retracted the report. Investigative
authorities have not indicted him for the assaults in northern Tokyo and
southern Saitama because of inconsistencies in his confessions and because
of circumstantial evidence.

At the start of his hearing, Sugita’s lawyers criticized investigators for
focusing on questioning the defendant in connection with the attacks during
the detention period. “More than half of the time of his detention was
illegally used for interrogations on the cycle-by attacks,” a defense
lawyer said.

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