AKITA (Kyodo) The Sendai High Court on Wednesday upheld the life sentence given to a 36-year-old woman convicted of killing her daughter and a neighbor boy in Akita Prefecture, rejecting appeals by both prosecutors and her counsel.
In the high-profile case, the court’s Akita branch upheld Suzuka Hatakeyama’s conviction in the murder of her daughter, Ayaka, 9, who was dropped from a bridge into a river in the town of Fujisato in April 2006, and the strangling Goken Yoneyama, 7, the following month. His corpse was found dumped along another river.
The court recognized Hatakeyama’s intent to kill her daughter, with presiding Judge Toshinori Takehana noting the defendant shoved the girl into the river after placing her on a “dangerous railing” and failed to take action after she fell.
Last March, the Akita District Court said in sentencing Hatakeyama to life that neither slaying was premeditated and the defendant could be rehabilitated.
While prosecutors had sought the death penalty, arguing the crimes were “malicious,” the defense asked for a definite prison term.
Her counsel argued that Hatakeyama did not intend to kill her daughter and was in a state of diminished capacity when she killed the boy.
The high court said it didn’t choose capital punishment as it determined the boy’s slaying was not premeditated and that Hatakeyama did not commit the crime for gain. But it said she was in a “normal mental state” when she killed the boy.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.