• Kyodo

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A construction worker was sentenced Monday to life in prison for murdering a 10-year-old girl last year.

Toshiyuki Uchima, 47, was convicted in a lay judge trial at the Kokura branch of the Fukuoka District Court of strangling the girl in an assault for the purpose of sexual abuse.

“The selfish crime for obscenity does not have any room for leniency,” Judge Toshihiro Shibata said. “Criminal responsibility is tremendous.”

According to the ruling, Uchima abducted the girl intending to molest her on Jan. 31, 2015, in Buzen, Fukuoka Prefecture, and murdered her.

He left the fifth-grade student’s body in a closet in his home.

During the trial, Uchima denied intending to kill his victim. His defense counsel argued that he pressed the girl’s neck to try to stop her screaming.

The prosecutors had sought the death penalty.

Uchima had a previous sex crime record and had been part of a prevention program before last year’s incident.

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