National

Codefendant also sentenced to hang for 2002 Mabuchi robbery-murders

Kyodo

The Chiba District Court sentenced a second man to death Thursday for the murders of the wife and daughter of the chairman of Mabuchi Motor Co. and two others in 2002, following the same verdict handed to his codefendant in December.

Presiding Judge Wataru Nemoto found Tetsuo Odajima, 63, guilty of all counts of murder, robbery, arson and trespassing involving the three separate robbery-murder cases.

On Dec. 19, Odajima’s accomplice, Katsumi Morita, 56, was also sentenced to hang by the same court. He has appealed the sentence to the Tokyo High Court.

While pleading guilty, Odajima had sought leniency.

Prosecutors had demanded the gallows.

Odajima and Morita conspired to break into the home of then Mabuchi Motor President Takaichi Mabuchi in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, on Aug. 5, 2002, and strangled Mabuchi’s wife, Etsuko, 66, and daughter, Yuka, 40, before stealing hundreds of thousands of yen in cash and jewelry worth about 9.7 million yen and setting fire to the house, the court said.

Odajima also conspired with Morita in the killing of dentist Fumio Aoyagi, 71, in Tokyo on Sept. 24, 2002, and Kimie Oshima, 65, wife of a discount-ticket shop owner in Chiba Prefecture on Nov. 21 the same year for money and jewelry, according to the court.