TOKYO (TR) – The Tokyo District Court on Monday sentenced a Chinese national to 10 years in prison in the killing of his wife and dumping her body inside a suitcase last year, a crime in which the defendant was not found guilty of murder, reports Nippon News Network (Sept. 11).
The presiding judge found Zhou Shichao, 38, guilty of manslaughter but not murder in the killing of his wife, 34-year-old Yang Mei, whose body was found inside a suitcase retrieved from a canal in front of the Dai-ichi Hotel Tokyo Seafort on the afternoon of June 27, 2016.
According to the indictment, Zhou allegedly strangled his wife to death inside an apartment in Arakawa Ward. He then dumped her body in the suitcase, a charge he admitted to. However, regarding murder, he told the court, “There was not an intent to kill.”
In handing down the ruling, the judge questioned the claim of the Zhou. “Even though the defendant covered the mouth and nose of his wife with his hand unintentionally, there still remains a question about intention to kill,” the judge said.
During the trial, the prosecution argued that considering that cartilage around the neck of Miss Yang was broken “the intent to kill was strong.” The defense countered by claiming that Zhou acted out of self defense, saying that money problems led to a fight between the couple.
The prosecution had sought an 18-year prison term in the case.