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The Supreme Court dismissed an appeal Thursday by a man who was sentenced to death for killing a couple in a robbery-murder case in 1997 in Osaka Prefecture.

Hisashi Eto, 64, planned to rob Motoo Takagi, 67, and his wife, Hiroko, 65, of money at their home in Sakai in conspiracy with three others, the top court’s first petty bench ruled.

Eto killed the couple on Oct. 30, 1997, after letting his accomplices leave Takagi’s house, and seized some 150,000 yen in cash, the ruling said.

While his defense lawyers had argued that he did not intend to kill them and that the penalty was too heavy for the crime, the presiding judge, Tatsuo Kainaka, said, “There is no room for leniency” for the inhuman crime.

“The defendant took the lives of those who had no fault, and imposing the death sentence is unavoidable,” he said.

The top court’s decision will soon finalize the capital punishment handed down to Eto.

The finalization of his sentence and another in a separate case of murder that was appealed but rejected by the Supreme Court earlier this month, will put the number of death row inmates in Japan with finalized sentences at 90.

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