• Kyodo

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A 26-year-old man was sentenced Thursday to life in prison by the Kyoto District Court for murdering two women he met through an Internet dating site.

Hiroaki Nishijima, a former construction worker, was found guilty of murdering Miki Iwabuchi, a 19-year-old student at Kyoto Women’s University, and Misako Miyauchi, a 28-year-old office worker, in early April and May 2001.

He was also found guilty of robbery and other charges related to the two murders.

Prosecutors, who sought the life term, accused Nishijima of committing “inhumane and vicious crimes” when he murdered the two women within the span of a month.

Nishijima pleaded guilty to the killings but denied that the purpose was to rob them. His lawyers demanded he be tried only for murder as the killings took place when he argued with the victims.

Prosecutors contended that Nishijima killed his victims with the intention of robbing them because he was in debt.

Nishijima became acquainted with the two women through a “friends wanted” site on the Internet, using a mobile phone, according to the indictment.

At dawn on April 9 last year, he strangled Iwabuchi in his car in Kyoto’s Yamashina Ward, stole about 70,000 yen and then dumped her body in a river in Ujitawara, Kyoto Prefecture, the court ruled.

In the early hours of May 6, Nishijima strangled Miyauchi in his car in the town of Keihoku and stole her belongings. He later dumped her body in a river in the city of Ayabe.

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