National / Crime & Legal

Killer of two buried alive at Saga soil treatment plant in 2014 gets life sentence

Kyodo

The Saga District Court on Monday sentenced a 69-year-old man to life in prison for murdering a man and a woman by burying them alive in the city of Saga in 2014.

In the trial, prosecutors demanded that Teruyoshi Oho be given the death penalty for killing South Korean national Ra Si-chan, then 76, and his associate Chie Matsushiro, 48. The defense counsel argued Oho was innocent.

According to the indictment, Oho suffocated the pair on Aug. 15, 2014, by burying them alive in their car in a 5-meter hole dug at a soil treatment company he ran in the city.

The prosecutors said Oho called Ra to the site after the latter urged him to pay back about ¥40 million he had borrowed. Oho made his employees dig the hole beforehand and dumped the car into it using heavy machinery, they said.

Noting the crime was “premeditated based on a strong intention to kill,” the prosecutors said there were no special circumstances in Oho’s case meriting a reprieve from capital punishment.

But Oho’s defense team argued that the pair’s cause of death was not known and that his debts were not a valid reason for the killings. It also claimed the hole was for “dumping industrial waste.”