IBARAKI (TR) – The Mito District Court on Wednesday handed a 36-year-old male Filipino national a life-in-prison term over the rape and murder of a female university student more than one decade ago, reports TV Asahi (July 25).
According to the ruling, Lampano Jerico Mori, a 35-year-old factory worker living in Gifu Prefecture, and two male accomplices raped Misato Harada, 21, and strangled and stabbed her to death in the early morning hours of January 31, 2004.
In handing down the ruling, presiding judge Yoshiyasu Ogasawara said “strong murderous intent” on the part of the defendant was evident. “Criminal liability is significant,” the judge added.
During the trial, the defense claimed that Mori, still a “young man,” was influenced by his accomplices, with his actions “escalating” as a result. The defense added that the defendant had since reflected upon his deeds.
Prosecutors reinforced their arguments by displaying that a DNA analysis of material found on the hand of the victim proved to be a match for the defendant.
The defendant and his accomplices were not acquainted with the victim. According to a previous report, Mori was living in Ibaraki at the time of the crime. The victim was a second-year student in the department of agriculture at Ibaraki University.
At around midnight on January 31, 2004, Harade exited her apartment, located in the town of Ami, Ibaraki, leaving word with an acquaintance that she was going out. About nine hours later, her nude body was found 6 kilometers away on a bank of the Seimei River in the village of Miho.
Police arrested Mori in September of last year after the results of a DNA analysis of material taken from the body of Harada proved to be a match for the suspect. They had been investigating the defendant for up to three years.
Prior to the incident, the defendant and his accomplices were out playing around, as was previously reported. “[Harada] came along, and the crime just happened,” the suspect was quoted upon his arrest.
The accomplices, both Filipino men, aged 32 and 34, were placed on an international wanted list with Interpol. They both left Japan in 2007.