The Tokyo High Court sentenced a 38-year-old man to death Friday for kidnapping and murdering a 16-year-old girl and pocketing 230,000 yen in ransom, overturning the life sentence imposed by a lower court.
Masahito Sakamoto was convicted of kidnapping high school student Ai Yasuda in what was the town of Ogo in Gunma Prefecture on July 19, 2002, strangling her to death, and accepting the ransom from her father the following day.
The defendant “committed an extremely unreasonable crime planned at taking his wife and daughter back,” presiding Judge Yu Shiraki said in handing down the decision.
Sakamoto kidnapped the teenager with the initial aim of forcing his former wife, who has been under protective custody at a local welfare facility, to meet him, according to the ruling.
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