• Kyodo

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The district court here on Wednesday sentenced a 44-year-old woman to death for murdering and robbing two women in Miyazaki Prefecture in 1996 and 1997 and abandoning their bodies.

Presiding Judge Heinai Komatsu gave the death sentence to Keiko Ishikawa, a resident of Miyazaki city, saying, “The crime was committed out of self-centered and simplistic thinking. There is no room for leniency.”

The prosecutors had demanded the death penalty.

The court found that Ishikawa planned to kill and rob Shizuko Hino, 55, a hotel employee in Miyazaki, in 1996 because her own family, which ran a carpentry workshop, was having problems with money.

Ishikawa strangled Hino in August 1996 after giving her a canned coffee drink laced with sleeping pills and stole 9,500 yen in cash. She then buried Hino’s body in a field in Saito, Miyazaki Prefecture.

In June 1997, Ishikawa strangled her friend, Yoko Furuso, 63, after giving her a similar drink laced with sleeping pills. Ishikawa killed Furuso, a pharmacist, after she refused to lend her money.

Ishikawa abandoned Furuso’s body in a wood in Kunitomi, Miyazaki Prefecture, and withdrew 2 million yen from Furuso’s bank account using the victim’s bank card.

Ishikawa’s mental competence was the focus of the trial with both her lawyers and prosecutors demanding a mental examination during the hearings.

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