• Kyodo

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The Fukuoka District Court on Thursday sentenced an apparently unrepentant man to death and his accomplice to life in prison for murdering two company presidents in 1996 in Shonai, Fukuoka Prefecture.

Mineo Suga, 53, received the death sentence and Katsutoshi Teshiba, 60, who faced charges that include robbery resulting in murder and the dumping of corpses, was sentenced to life imprisonment. Prosecutors had demanded the death penalty for both.

While recognizing that both men committed the crimes, presiding Judge Hidefumi Hayashi only sentenced Suga to death because he felt Suga had not shown remorse and was unlikely to mend his ways.

Teshiba received life because he showed some humanity and had hesitated several times before murdering the men, the judge said, adding he was following Suga’s lead.

Suga and Teshiba killed Noboru Hiyama, 59, president of a real estate company in Tosu, Saga Prefecture, who was their partner in a land development project in Ogori, Fukuoka Prefecture, to increase their share of the profits.

The pair strangled Hiyama at a work area in Shonai in June 1996 and dumped his body nearby. About five months later, they killed another acquaintance, the 54-year-old president of a construction company from Honami, Fukuoka Prefecture, and stole 9 million yen in cash.

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