OSAKA – The Osaka Family Court on Thursday sent a mentally ill 19-year-old boy who killed his mother and wounded his father and brother in November to a medical juvenile reformatory.
The youth will receive treatment at the reformatory “for a substantial period of at least three years,” presiding judge Tetsushi Yukawa said.
The court also sent his 16-year-old girlfriend, who conspired with him in the crime, to a medical juvenile reformatory.
The judge said the girl, a first-year high school student with psychological problems, will be transferred to a middle juvenile reformatory after about two years if she improves.
Middle juvenile reformatories accept offenders aged between 16 and 19 who have no significant physical or mental disorders. Medical juvenile reformatories take in youths aged between 14 and 25 who have been diagnosed with serious physical or mental disorders.
The teen was expelled from his university in February and began plotting with his girlfriend in October to kill both of their families. He bought kitchen knives for the purpose, according to an investigation by the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office.
Before dawn on Nov. 1, the youth fatally stabbed his 43-year-old mother and seriously wounded his father, 46, and brother, 15, at their home in Kawachinagano, Osaka Prefecture. He took his mother’s wallet, which contained 10,000 yen, and fled.
He and his girlfriend were arrested the same day.
Prosecutors sent the case to the Osaka Family Court on Nov. 21 before recommending it be sent back given the serious nature of the crime and because tests by the office found the two mentally competent to face criminal charges under the Juvenile Law.
But the family court made a rare decision in not following the recommendation.
Judge Yukawa determined that neither the youth nor his girlfriend were in a state of insanity or in a condition of reduced mental competence at the time of their crime.
The judge added, however, that, “There are symptoms of mental illness . . . so medical and other measures will be appropriate.”
While recognizing the charges against the two as facts, the judge said the family does not want the youth to be punished harshly.
Judge Yukawa also noted that if he is subjected to criminal punishment, there is a risk that his mental illness will deteriorate, eventually triggering suicide.
The man showed symptoms of a “delusionary perception of human relations that he was being thrown into a world of threatening people,” as well as an obsessive belief that he had to follow through on whatever he had planned to do, the judge said.
The family court began its trial Dec. 9, and conducted psychiatric evaluations of the pair. The conclusion was that both suffered from psychological disorders and needed treatment.
Ikuzo Maeno, a criminal policy professor at Kwansei Gakuin University, said the court’s decision to send the pair to medical juvenile reformatories is appropriate under the Juvenile Law.
“More consideration is needed in cases where the victim is a third party, but an important factor in this case is that the victims are (the boy’s) family members and they don’t really want him to be punished harshly,” Maeno said. “The victimized family members are also hoping the two will get medical treatment.”
The pair have not been identified because they are minors.