• Kyodo

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Police on Saturday transferred to prosecutors the case of a 17-year-old boy who was arrested Thursday after spending 16 days on the run after allegedly beating four baseball teammates with a bat and killing his mother.

The boy, a student at Oku High School in Oku, Okayama Prefecture, was sent by Okayama Prefectural Police to the Okayama District Public Prosecutors Office.

The police suspect the boy beat his 42-year-old mother to death at their home after attacking fellow members of the high school baseball team with a metal baseball bat on June 21.

Earlier reports said the boy had been ridiculed or bullied by junior members of the baseball team, apparently because he refused to have his hair cut in the closely cropped style often adopted by high school baseball players.

One of the victims who was seriously injured reportedly criticized the youth on the day before the incident about his hairstyle.

Investigative sources said the boy wrote in his diary on the day before he assaulted team members that he would “carry out the hunt tomorrow,” indicating that the attack was not spontaneous. About a month prior to the incident, the boy had written what appears to be a story titled “Hunter of Darkness” in which a fictional character punishes his teammates, similar in content to a comic of the same title.

The youth has also confirmed to police that he attacked the boys because he was told that he should cut his hair, according to investigators.

According to police, the boy’s father, 46, told them that his son had seemed to feel under pressure from his mother’s expectations of him, and that he could not describe the relationship between the boy and the mother as good.

It was also learned Saturday that the youth had thought he had killed his teammates when he fled from the school.

The police said the boy has admitted beating his mother to death with the baseball bat and that he did it because he thought his attack on the four club members would cause trouble for her.

The boy is an only child and the three appeared to be an ideal family to neighbors, according to police sources.

The youth was arrested Thursday while riding a bicycle in Akita Prefecture, more than 1,000 km from his home. Police said they suspect the boy, in a state of confusion after the attacks, was heading toward Hokkaido, where he had gone on a school trip last year and apparently enjoyed himself.