• Kyodo

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The Toyama District Court sentenced a man to 13 years in prison Tuesday for stabbing a police officer to death last September inside a police station in Kurobe, Toyama Prefecture.

In passing sentence on Niigata Prefecture resident Masashi Kato, 37, presiding Judge Masakatsu Kamisawa said his slaying of Sgt. Makoto Terada, 52, was not premeditated.

According to the court, Kato, whom police described as unemployed and of no fixed address, turned himself in at the police station late Sept. 15 for stealing a bicycle.

After being interrogated, he rested inside the station. At around 6:50 a.m. the next day, he stabbed Terada in the stomach when they happened to meet in a corridor with knives seized from the station’s kitchen. Terada died of shock Sept. 18.

Terada had not been involved in Kato’s interrogation. But prosecutors claimed Kato “wanted to kill anyone if it was the police,” because he was angry about the interrogation that had taken place earlier.

Prosecutors had demanded a 17-year prison sentence.

The judge said that while there was no denying that elements of the interrogation were “somewhat inappropriate,” this did not justify murder.

“The court can well imagine the vexation of the victim, who just happened to meet (Kato),” the judge added.

During his final testimony, Kato said he was responsible for the crime and that he wanted to start over again by being punished strictly.

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