Kazuyoshi Miura was freed Wednesday after being acquitted by the Tokyo High Court of conspiring to murder his wife in 1981 to cash in on her life insurance policies.
Imprisoned since 1985 on a separate charge of attacking his wife Kazumi, then 28, in Los Angeles three months before she was shot to death there, Miura, 50, could not find solace in the acquittal.
“Even considering today’s ruling, I cannot say I feel happy from the bottom of my soul,” Miura said in a statement released by his lawyers. “Why is it my freedom had to be taken away for nearly 13 years to prove my innocence? I’ve survived these last 13 years on the belief that my innocence would definitely be proved.”
The high court also decided to uphold the district court’s acquittal of Yoshikuni Okubo, 46, a Miura acquaintance prosecutors claimed was his accomplice. Kazumi’s life insurance policies were worth 163 million yen.
Norio Akiyama, the presiding judge, said crucial evidence was lacking because nothing is known about the identity of Kazumi’s killer, and there is no evidence to prove he consulted with the shooter.
Overturned was a guilty verdict the Tokyo District Court handed down in 1994. The ruling convicted Miura of planning to have his wife shot and killed in conspiracy with an unidentified accomplice. He had been sentenced to life in prison.
“I deeply respect the court that handed down today’s ruling,” Miura said in a statement. “From this time forward, I would like to lead a calm, quiet life together with my daughter. I give thanks to my parents and my daughter, who continued to have faith in me at all times, and to the many people who supported me.”
Yasuko Sasaki, Kazumi’s mother, said she was deeply shocked by the ruling. She later handed the court a petition to have a new ruling handed down that would take into account Miura’s personality. She said the crime cannot be understood without assessing his personality, and that she would appeal to the Supreme Court.
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