National / Crime & Legal

Tokyo High Court upholds 22-year prison term for man in 2013 stalking-murder case

Kyodo

The Tokyo High Court on Tuesday upheld a 22-year prison sentence for a man convicted of killing his former teenage girlfriend in 2013 in a high-profile stalking-murder case in Mitaka, western Tokyo.

Rejecting both prosecutors’ demands for a tougher sentence and the defendant’s call for a lighter penalty, Judge Junichiro Akiyoshi, who presided over the retrial of Charles Thomas Ikenaga, said the lower court ruling against him was fair. “There are no grounds for changing it.”

Ikenaga, 24, was initially sentenced to 22 years in prison by the Tachikawa branch of the Tokyo District Court in 2014, with judges noting he had posted explicit images of the victim online before and after the killing, an act known as “revenge porn.”

In 2015, the high court repealed the ruling and sent the case back, saying the district court mishandled the trial by being overly influenced by the act of revenge porn, which had not been included in his indictment.

After the high court ruling, prosecutors indicted Ikenaga over the revenge porn, and in the ensuing retrial, the district court gave the defendant the same sentence of 22 years in prison.

In Tuesday’s ruling, the high court acknowledged the “peculiar process” the stalking-murder case underwent, but Akiyoshi said, “It can’t be helped that prosecutors had to file a further indictment in respect for the bereaved family’s feelings.”

According to the ruling, Ikenaga killed his 18-year-old former girlfriend at her home in Mitaka on Oct. 8, 2013, by stabbing her neck and abdomen with a knife. On Oct. 6 and 8, he also posted on a social networking site a link to a website to which he had uploaded explicit pictures of her.

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