• Kyodo

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A man received the death sentence Friday for murdering two women in separate robberies in Miyazaki Prefecture in 2001.

Yasutoshi Matsuda, 34, was found guilty by the Miyazaki District Court of robbing and murdering Toshiko Hashida, a 53-year-old bar owner, and Morie Manako, 82, the owner of a small family store. Matsuda had pleaded guilty.

Handing down the death penalty, as prosecutors had demanded, presiding Judge Heinai Komatsu said, “There are absolutely no grounds for clemency for this crime.”

Matsuda broke into Hashida’s home in Saito, Miyazaki Prefecture, on Nov. 25, 2001, when she was out. When Hashida returned early the next morning, Matsuda stabbed her in the chest and strangled her before stealing about 37,000 yen in cash and other items, the court ruled.

On the afternoon of Dec. 7, 2001, Matsuda broke into Manako’s house in the town of Kunitomi, Miyazaki Prefecture, at around 2:30 p.m. and strangled her with string at around 10 p.m., the court said. He stole about 630,000 yen in cash and other items.

Matsuda, of no fixed address and unemployed, carried out other robberies in the prefecture around the same time, according to the court.

Matsuda’s lawyer, Shinya Machimoto, said that while the ruling was not totally unexpected, he regretted that the court did not find that his client was capable of being rehabilitated.

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