The Tokyo Family Court said Wednesday that a 16-year-old boy accused of murdering his parents and blowing up their apartment in June should face criminal charges.
Given the decision, the teen, whose identity is protected because he is a minor, was expected to be indicted by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office within 10 days and stand trial in a regular court.
It is rare for someone who was 15 at the time of a crime to face a criminal trial, according to judicial experts.
The family court said the youth, a high school student from Itabashi Ward, fatally stabbed his 44-year-old father, a live-in custodian at an apartment building that served as a company dorm, and his 42-year-old mother on June 20.
After attacking his parents, the family court said, he rigged the apartment to explode. He cut a gas hose and placed a spray can on an electric heating unit. When the unit’s timer went off, the resulting blast ripped through the apartment.
The court said the crime was premeditated and the boy clearly intended to kill. It was “extremely heinous and serious,” and had a major impact on society.
“It is an unusual case, even in comparison to crimes committed by adults,” presiding Judge Kazunobu Yamazaki said.
The youth confessed, claiming he was angry because his father always made him help with custodial duties. He told the family court he did “a stupid thing.”
“I don’t know why I killed them, and I regret my actions,” he was quoted as saying.
As for rigging the explosion, the teen said he realizes it caused a great deal of trouble to the people living in the building.
A lawyer representing the teen submitted a document to the court saying that given his age and his psychological immaturity, it would be appropriate for the boy to be sent to a reformatory or placed in a child assistance center.
Meanwhile, officials at the Tokyo Classification Home who conducted psychiatric tests on the youth were also of the opinion that he should be placed long-term in a Secondary Training School.
They said the murders were the result of resentment toward his parents that had built up for years.
“There is immaturity and shallowness in his personality that require systematic instruction and teaching” to correct, they said.
However, investigators with the family court said the boy’s deeds were “socially inexcusable” and it is uncertain whether placing him in a protective environment would correct him.
On Wednesday, Judge Yamazaki said the youth is still troubled and unable to sort out his disgust for his father.
“It is also important in view of the spirit of the revised Juvenile Law to have (the youth) understand the gravity of his crime and atone for it with punishment, and true correction cannot be achieved without that,” he added.
A legal revision that took effect in 2001 lowered to 14 from 16 the age at which juvenile perpetrators can be held criminally liable.
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