• Kyodo

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The second son of alleged criminal matriarch Miyoko Sumida was sentenced to 17 years in jail on Wednesday for his part in a spate of bizarre deaths linked to the family.

The Kobe District Court found Yutaro Sumida, 28, caused the death of Mariko Nakajima, 26, by violence and abuse after detaining her in a shed on the balcony of an apartment in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, between 2005 and 2011.

He was also found to have forced Hisayoshi Sumida, 51, to plunge to his death during a trip to Okinawa Prefecture.

Miyoko allegedly controlled the group through violence and starvation, but she committed suicide in a detention facility in December 2012 before she could be prosecuted.

A total of seven defendants were indicted in cases involving the deaths of eight people and the disappearance of three others in the Amagasaki area.

Yutaro was charged with seven crimes involving five of the victims, but only admitted to abandoning the body of one.

He denied intending to kill the two people he was found guilty of murdering.

Prosecutors had called for Yutaro to be sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The trial, which was presided over by Judge Koji Masuda and involved lay judges, lasted 132 days — the longest trial involving lay judges since the system was launched in May 2009.

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