The Tokyo District Court sentenced a locksmith Monday to 16 years in prison for confining and killing freelance journalist Satoru Someya, who wrote about him in a magazine.

In sentencing Keizo Sakurai, 44, presiding Judge Shoji Ogawa ruled that he played a leading role in a conspiracy to commit the act, which Ogawa described as “violent, myopic and vengeful out of anger.”

The act was “well-planned as he had prepared the place of confinement, and he showed no sign of hesitation in committing the crime,” Ogawa said, adding that Sakurai, the ringleader, bore a heavier responsibility than his accomplices.

Sakurai conspired with others to confine Someya, 38, in a condominium in Tokyo and other locations on Sept. 6, 2003, after Someya wrote the article and had money trouble with Sakurai over advertising fees for a book the victim published.

Sakurai fatally stabbed the journalist on a boat in Tokyo Bay early the next morning, according to the court.

Sakurai pleaded guilty. Prosecutors had demanded 18 years in prison.

The accomplices include Yoshihiro Kumamoto, 33, who is facing a separate trial.

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