ISHIKAWA (TR) – A court here this week upheld a 17-year prison term handed to a man over the murder of a hostess in Kanazawa City two years ago, reports Kyodo News (Mar. 26).
At the Kanazawa branch of the Nagoya High Court on Thursday, presiding judge Masato Saito denied the appeal by 29-year-old Tsubasa Endo over the murder of Akino Kita, a 30-year-old resident of Kanazawa. “The criminal liability is high,” the judge said.
During the trial, the defense presented a letter from Kita’s father that requested a lighter sentence. However, Saito did not acknowledge the request.
“It is recognized that amends have been made with the family, but a change to the original sentence is not approved,” the judge said in denying the request.
According to the ruling, Endo worked with accomplices in strangling Kita. They then buried her corpse in a forest in the town of Noto.
The prosecution had sought a 20-year term for murder and abandoning a corpse.
Hostess club in Kanazawa
Kita worked at a hostess club in Kanazawa. One of Endo’s accomplices, Yuki Sato, worked at the same club, which is affiliated with a bar in Osaka City’s Naniwa Ward that employed Endo.
On the night of October 9, 2018, the family of Kita lodged a missing persons report with the Kanazawa-Naka Police Station. During the subsequent investigation, police found blood on the pavement of a road near her residence.
Based on an analysis of security camera footage, police believed the incident took place on the road between 4:00 a.m. and 4:45 a.m. on the day she was reported missing.
The court said that Sato lured Kita out of her residence. Then, Okamoto and Endo strangled her with a rope. A third accomplice, Yoshiharu Kosugi, also a staff member at the club, had proposed the means for killing her.
Location of the body
Police first arrested Sato on October 11. Okamoto was arrested two days later. During questioning, Okamoto revealed the location of Kita’s body. The arrest of Endo followed shortly thereafter.
Both courts acknowledged that Endo was the ringleader. “The result was the defendant being the key person in the crime,” said judge Saito on Thursday.
During the trial, the prosecution said that Endo had became frustrated with Kita’s attitude at work. Kosugi and Sato assisted in the crime in hopes that their salaries at the club would increase.
The original ruling for Endo was handed down by the Kanazawa District Court last September. In that same ruling, Okamoto received a 15-year term. Meanwhile, Sato and Kosugi both were handed 6-year terms.