• Kyodo

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The Osaka High Court on Monday upheld the death sentence for a man who stabbed two people to death in 1998.

According to the ruling, Susumu Nakayama, a 55-year-old former construction worker, murdered Takemitsu Kikukawa, 37, and his girlfriend, Minako Kobuchi, 40, on Feb. 19, 1998, in Osaka.

The crime occurred seven years after Nakayama had been released on parole after serving an indefinite prison term for an earlier murder and robbery.

Nakayama has said he did not intend to kill the couple. He said he stabbed them “accidentally” during a scuffle.

But presiding Judge Kazuo Hamai rejected the claim because Nakayama stabbed the victims repeatedly, killing them almost instantly. The judge also said there was no sign that Nakayama had a scuffle with the victims.

“There is no alternative to the death sentence as the defendant committed this egoistic and cruel crime seven years after he was released on parole,” Hamai said.

At the time of the incident, Nakayama was dating Kikukawa’s wife.

Divorce talks between Kikukawa and his wife were making little progress, so Nakayama killed the husband to get him out of the way.

Nakayama repeatedly stabbed Kikukawa and Kobuchi with a handmade spear on a street in Toyonaka, Osaka Prefecture.

Nakayama’s lawyers indicated they would appeal to the Supreme Court.

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