The Tokyo High Court dismissed appeals Monday filed by both a defendant and the prosecution over the indefinite prison term the man received for murdering two employees and perpetrating other crimes.

During the appellate court trial, the counsel for Shinobu Sato, 26, a former self-employed house painter from Nagareyama, Chiba Prefecture, argued that the indefinite prison term handed down by the Mito District Court was too heavy. Prosecutors were meanwhile seeking capital punishment due to the severity of Sato’s crimes.

In upholding the lower court ruling, Judge Tomoo Araki of the high court said that although it was outrageous and inexcusable for Sato to kill the two workers for their alleged incompetence, there was an “accidental element” to the murders, and the court refrained from sentencing him to death.

According to the court, Sato fatally beat Shoichi Morita, 24, with a baseball bat at his home in Nagareyama in October 1994 and dumped the victim’s body in a forest in Tochigi Prefecture. In December the same year, he used a bat to fatally beat Hiroyuki Sugita, 21.

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