• Kyodo News


The Tokyo High Court said Tuesday it will decide next week whether to start a retrial in the 1990 murder of a 4-year-old girl, which would lead to an acquittal for a man imprisoned for 17 years and released this month when fresh DNA tests indicated his innocence.

The court said the decision over the retrial will be made June 23.

Toshikazu Sugaya, 62, was convicted of kidnapping and murdering Mami Matsuda in Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture, and he was freed by the Tokyo High Public Prosecutor’s Office on June 4.

The high court is highly likely to decide to hold the retrial, according to judicial sources.

The prosecutors have already decided to seek Sugaya’s acquittal if a retrial is held.

Sugaya was released from prison after newer tests indicated his DNA did not match traces found on Matsuda’s clothes, contrary to the initial test results that led to his conviction.

He initially confessed to killing the girl but later withdrew the confession.

The Utsunomiya District Court sentenced him to life in prison in 1993, as sought by prosecutors. The Tokyo High Court and the Supreme Court dismissed appeals in 1996 and 2000.

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