• Kyodo

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The Wakayama Family Court on Wednesday turned over to prosecutors the case of a 16-year-old boy who stands accused of murdering a 71-year-old photo studio owner in Koya, Wakayama Prefecture, in April.

The boy has said he did not intend to kill the man, but Judge Akiko Nakamura said in her ruling: “We can recognize (the defendant’s) intent from the manner, the location and the number of times he hit the man. His actions were heinous, vicious and persistent.”

Prosecutors soon plan to charge the boy, who was expelled from his high school in June, with fatally assaulting Koji Kubota, investigative sources said.

The boy’s case has been handled by the family court since the end of July. The boy’s identity is being withheld because he is a minor and the proceedings of the family court hearings have not been disclosed.

On April 24, the boy went to Kubota’s photo studio to pick up photographs for an identification card. The boy said at the time of his arrest that he was in a bad mood, according to investigators. He allegedly killed Kubota by repeatedly hitting him in the head with a rice cooker and other items.

A court-ordered psychiatric exam found that the boy had signs of adjustment disorder stemming from stress caused by his mother.

The boy’s lawyer recommended he be sent to a juvenile correction center with experts on child psychology, while the Wakayama District Public Prosecutor’s Office argued he should face criminal charges.

The juvenile law says murder suspects aged 16 and older should, in principle, be tried as adults.

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