• Kyodo

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Osaka High Court confirmed Tuesday a 16-year sentence for a mentally ill man who killed an elementary school student in 2015, imposing the same punishment as a lower court despite a new psychiatric assessment finding he suffers from a different condition than the one initially diagnosed.

The high court sentenced Oshu Nakamura, 26, after ruling that he stabbed to death his 11-year-old neighbor, Toshi Morita, with a knife near their homes in Kinokawa, Wakayama Prefecture, on the evening of Feb. 5, 2015.

The term length was based on a psychiatric test it conducted after both the prosecution and defense appealed the first ruling, which was handed down in 2017. The second test diagnosed Nakamura with mild autism spectrum disorder.

In the earlier decision, the Wakayama District Court had ruled Nakamura could not be held responsible for his actions because of symptoms of schizophrenia or diminished capacity due to paranoia he was suffering at the time of the incident. His condition was determined through a psychiatric assessment.

Prosecutors had sought a 25-year term for Nakamura at the district court, arguing that he was criminally responsible for the murder.

Both Wakayama District Public Prosecutors’ Office and Nakamura’s defense appealed the ruling, the former seeking a stiffer sentence and the latter a more lenient punishment.

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