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NARA (Kyodo) The Nara District Court will allow two police officers who shot and killed a suspect in a 2003 robbery as his car was attempting to escape to be tried for murder, court officials said Monday.

According to the unusual decision, dated Thursday, the officers, both 34, will be tried under the lay judge system to determine whether they intended to kill the suspect and if the use of lethal force was necessary.

The two officers, together with another one, fired eight shots at the suspect’s getaway car in Yamatokoriyama, Nara Prefecture, in September 2003 after the car got wedged between two police cars.

Sojitsu Ko, 28, died in the front passenger seat and the man driving the car was injured.

After Ko’s mother filed a criminal complaint, the Nara District Public Prosecutor’s Office decided not to indict the officers. She then asked the district court to examine the case.

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