• Kyodo

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A 22-year-old man pleaded guilty Tuesday to stabbing his former girlfriend to death last October in a high-profile stalking-murder case in Mitaka, west Tokyo.

Charles Thomas Ikenaga was charged with murder for fatally stabbing high school student Saaya Suzuki, 18. Ikenaga reportedly began stalking Suzuki after she rejected his pleas to resume their relationship.

As the trial opened at the Tachikawa branch of the Tokyo District Court, Ikenaga appeared to have difficulty concentrating and kept turning around to look at the gallery and often licked his lips.

Called by presiding Judge Masahiko Hayashi to the witness stand, Ikenaga hastily confirmed his name and address and admitted he killed Suzuki.

Prosecutors said the murder was premeditated as Ikenaga had staked out Suzuki’s house before the attack.

Ikenaga ambushed Suzuki at her home and stabbed her with a knife with a 13-cm-long blade a few minutes before 5 p.m. last Oct. 8, according to the prosecutors.

She bled to death after sustaining wounds to her throat and abdomen, they said.

Earlier that day, Suzuki told officers at Mitaka Police Station that she was being stalked by Ikenaga.

The pair met online around July 2011 and started a relationship that December.

Suzuki sought to end the relationship in fall 2012, after which Ikenaga began stalking her, according to police investigators.

During the prosecutors’ opening statement, Ikenaga kept his eyes fixed on them, blinking his eyes repeatedly.

His expression never changed as the prosecutors read out the details of the charges against him.

However, Ikenaga looked grim and cast his eyes downward when his lawyers told the court he had been neglected by his mother and physically abused by his mother’s boyfriend.

“I have changed” within the past nine months in detention, Ikenaga, raised by a Japanese father and a Filipino mother, said during an interview at a Tokyo detention facility on July 14.

He revealed that he recently read Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy after being recommended to do so by one of his friends.

“Now, I’m trying to spend my time reflecting on various things,” he said, adding that he has realized the need to think for himself.

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