• Kyodo

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Prosecutors on Thursday demanded the death penalty for a dog breeder and his former wife accused of murdering four of their clients.

Gen Sekine, 58, is accused of murdering the four people, including company executive Akio Kawasaki, 39, of Gyoda, Saitama Prefecture, in 1993. The prosecutors said Kawasaki was killed following a dispute over money with Sekine over the sale of an expensive dog.

Prosecutors also demanded the death penalty for Hiroko Kazama, 43, a pet shop owner and Sekine’s former wife, for the murder of Kawasaki and two others.

“There is no room for leniency toward the accused, whose criminal nature is beyond the possibility of correction,” the prosecutors told the court.

The trial of the pair involved little material evidence and relied heavily on the testimony of an acquaintance of the accused. It commenced five years ago at the Urawa District Court, with the defense team scheduled to give their final argument in October.

Sekine has admitted most of the charges against him, while Kazama has said she only transported the bodies of two of the murder victims and has pleaded not guilty to all other charges.

They each accused the other of being “primarily responsible” for the murders.

According to the indictment, the two defendants poisoned Kawasaki on April 20, 1993, followed by gangster Yasunobu Endo, 51, and his 21-year-old driver, Susumu Wakui, on July 21 the same year.

Together with Nagayuki Yamazaki, who was the pair’s business partner, the two defendants transported the bodies of Kawasaki, Endo and Wakui to a dog-training ground in Gunma Prefecture, the indictment says.

After cutting the bodies into pieces and burning them, the defendants allegedly scattered the remains in a hilly area and a river.

Sekine is also charged with murdering Mitsue Sekiguchi, 54, a housewife who lived in Gyoda, on Aug. 26, 1993, and disposing of her body with Yamazaki.

In their statement to the court, prosecutors also said Sekine and Kazama murdered a 51-year-old man in Chichibu, western Saitama Prefecture, in 1984 and dumped his body. They have not been indicted over the case.

Yamazaki, 44, has already been tried separately on charges of illegally disposing of human bodies and sentenced to three years in prison.