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KOBE — A 16-year-old boy and his parents Thursday were ordered by the Kobe District Court to pay about 100 million yen in damages to the parents of a child the boy beheaded in 1997 in a crime that stunned the nation.

“The boy, 14 years old at the time of the murder, was fully capable of recognizing his responsibility for the crime, and his parents, as guardians, were responsible for his supervision,” said Judge Nobuatsu Morimoto as he handed down the decision.

The teen, whose name must be withheld in accordance with the Juvenile Law, strangled the 11-year-old boy in Kobe’s Suma Ward in May that year. He then beheaded him and left the head in front of the main gate of a local school, the Kobe Family Court ruling says.

The boy was also arrested in June for killing the boy, bludgeoning to death a 10-year-old girl, and injuring three other children. He was later ordered sent to a Tokyo juvenile medical treatment facility in western Tokyo.

The parents of the dead boy responded with mixed feelings to the civil court ruling. On the one hand, they praised the court for making official and specific recognition that accountability for the slaying rests with the boy and his parents.

On the other, however, the parents were disappointed they were not given access to documents submitted to the family court. Those include the deposition from the boy and the results of his psychiatric tests. “I pray for more progress in information disclosure for victims and their families, and for the protection of the rights of the victims,” the father said in a written statement handed to the press. “We will never be able to bury the grief and rage we feel over the manner in which we lost our child. However, I feel relieved I will be able to go to the grave of my child and tell him the result of the ruling,” the father wrote.

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