NARA (Kyodo) The Nara District Court sentenced a 40-year-old man to six months in prison Friday for fatally shooting a wild deer with a crossbow in Nara Park in March.

Prosecutors had demanded a 10-month prison term for Ginjiro Inagaki, a company executive, from Tsu, Mie Prefecture, on charges of violating the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties. The Nara Park deer are designated as national natural treasures.

The court also sentenced Megumi Date, 37, Inagaki's female acquaintance from Kameyama in the same prefecture, to six months in prison, suspended for three years, for the same charges. The prosecutors had demanded a six-month prison term without suspension.

Judge Yasunari Hataguchi said that Inagaki "hunted the deer with the intention of selling its meat."

"He provoked horror and anxiety in the local community by killing one of the deer that represent the city of Nara," the judge said, adding the court suspended Date's sentence because she was only acting as a subordinate of Inagaki.

According to the indictment, Inagaki and Date conspired to fire an arrow and injured the doe sometime between March 12 and 13.

The deer was found March 13 with a 52-cm bolt stuck in its abdomen. It died two days later. The iron arrow had pierced its lung.

The 10-year-old doe, which underwent an autopsy, was also pregnant.

Inagaki, who ran a restaurant, admitted to the charge and said he had financial problems and thought deer meat would sell for a high price, police said earlier.