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A ballet student was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison for fatally stabbing a Tokyo woman with whom he took dance lessons.

On March 24, Keiji Takada, 43, broke into the Shibuya Ward home of Mariko Mihashi, 31, whom he had been stalking, waited for her to return and stabbed her in the throat during a fight.

In handing down the sentence, presiding Judge Koji Inaba of the Tokyo District Court said it was hard to imagine that someone who seriously loved another could commit such a crime. Prosecutors had sought 18 years.

Takada’s lawyer argued that he stabbed the woman accidentally as they struggled, and had not intended to kill her.

But the judge dismissed this argument, saying Takada clearly intended to kill the object of his obsession, given the number and depth of the stab wounds.

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