National

Life term urged for man accused of killing student

Prosecutors demanded a life prison term Monday for a man accused of stabbing a junior college student to death after trying to molest her in a case that drew widespread attention due to the killer’s lesser-panda cap.

In making the demand before the Tokyo District Court in the trial of Makoto Yamaguchi, 32, a construction worker from Sapporo, prosecutors said in a statement, “The crime was persistent and atrocious,” and cited his attempts to evade capture.

According to their closing argument, Yamaguchi stabbed Mayuko Ogawa, 19, who was studying at Toita Women’s College in Tokyo, in the chest and abdomen with a kitchen knife in Tokyo’s Taito Ward on April 30, 2001.

Yamaguchi’s attorneys argued he is not capable of taking responsibility for his actions because he suffers from a pervasive developmental disorder and has lost his memory on the details of the slaying.

However, prosecutors said Yamaguchi took rational actions after the crime, including throwing away the murder weapon and using a false name to get jobs afterward.

Yamaguchi said during the trial: “I would like to do anything to make up for the crime. I can’t apologize enough.”

The murder drew attention because Yamaguchi, wearing a hat bearing the face of a lesser panda, had been seen several times in the area before the murder.

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