• Kyodo

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A Kyoto man received a suspended 2 1/2-year prison sentence Friday for killing his 86-year-old mother, who had senile dementia, as the court reckons she gave her consent.

The Kyoto District Court said Yasuharu Katagiri, 54, deserved clemency due to his dedication to caring for his mother. “There is no word to describe the pain, worry and the sense of hopelessness the defendant felt in caring for his mother every day and night,” Judge Ryuichi Higashio said. “We cannot say the defendant lacked understanding for the preciousness of life.”

The prosecutors had demanded that Katagiri be imprisoned for three years, saying in a statement, “Though there is room for sympathizing with the defendant, he needs to (spend time in prison) in order to be rehabilitated.”

According to the court, Katagiri had long cared for his mother at their apartment by himself since she developed dementia, but her condition began worsening around April last year.

He quit his job to give his mother full-time care and lived mainly on his unemployment insurance benefits. But once the benefits ended, he became unable to pay the rent, the court said.

As a result, Katagiri decided to kill his mother and himself and strangled her on Feb. 1 on the bank of a river in the city of Kyoto, after obtaining her consent, the court ruled. He made an unsuccessful attempt at suicide afterward.

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