• Kyodo

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A 30-year-old man was sentenced Friday to life in prison for robbing and murdering a woman he had met through a telephone dating service in 2000.

Presiding Judge Yasuo Shimoyama of the Chiba District Court handed down the life sentence to Masahiro Hasegawa, of Sakura, Chiba Prefecture, that prosecutors had demanded.

The court found Hasegawa guilty of strangling the still unidentified woman with an electrical cord in a car on the night of April 4, 2000, after he gave her a drink containing a sleeping drug.

Hasegawa dumped her body at a former company housing building in Narashino, in the eastern part of the prefecture, where he used to live and took 15,000 yen of her money, the court said.

The woman is believed to have been in her late 20s to 30s. She was about 165 cm tall and was wearing a denim blouse and skirt. Her blood type was B.

The judge said, “The crime was despicable and cruel, and had a large impact on society.”

According to police, after the murder, Hasegawa carried out an unspecified assault on another woman he met through a telephone dating service sometime between April and May 2000. He also gave that woman a drugged drink, they said.

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