• Kyodo

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A 46-year-old woman was to be formally proclaimed not guilty at midnight Tuesday of murdering a 9-year-old Sapporo boy in 1984, according to officials.

The former restaurant employee was to be cleared of murder charges after prosecutors decided not to appeal an acquittal ruling by the Sapporo High Court, the officials said.

The woman was arrested in 1998 — just before the statute of limitations for a murder charge expired — on suspicion of murdering fourth-grader Hidenori Jomaru at his home in Sapporo. The statute of limitations on any other charge has long since passed.

Prosecutors had claimed that she had summoned the boy with the aim of kidnapping him and obtaining a ransom. They then claimed that she killed the boy out of fear of being discovered.

The Sapporo District Court and the Sapporo High Court ruled that the woman, who had kept silent during her trial, committed a serious crime that caused the boy’s death. Based on a variety of factors, however, the courts doubted her intent to kill him.

Hidenori’s 57-year-old father, Takashi, said he may file a civil suit against the woman.

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