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Miyagi woman gets life for masterminding killing of man met on dating site

Shukan Jitsuwa Aug 21-28
Shukan Jitsuwa Aug 21-28

On August 8, the Saitama District Court handed down sentences of life imprisonment to two defendants from Miyagi Prefecture in the murder of a Saitama man employed in the electrical equipment industry in 2012.

Presiding judge Takao Katayama said that Sanae Ito, 44, and Hiromitsu Kikuchi, 50, conspired in the brutal killing and robbery of Minoru Shirata, at the time 67 years old and a resident of Gyoda, Saitama.

Weekly tabloid Shukan Jitsuwa (Aug. 21-28) finds eerie similarities between the actions of Ito, the mastermind of the operation, and that of Kanae Kijima, who was sentenced to death on three counts of murder in 2012.

As Kijima did with her victims, Ito met Shirata on a dating site in which the participants are seeking marriage partners. “Ito also met Kikuchi on such a dating site,” says a writer covering judicial affairs. “She was a two-timer.”

At the first hearing on July 7, Kikuchi admitted to the allegations, while Ito would only claim involvement in the murder. In the written indictment, Ito is said to have borrowed at least 10 million yen from Shirata.

“It is obvious that there was a willingness to take the property of the victim and escape repayment of debt,” judge Katayama in handing down the sentence.

On November 11, the defendants had the victim consume a drink laced with a sleeping powder and killed him with a meat cleaver, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun (Aug. 8). The victim was also robbed of 32,000 yen in cash.

After Ito’s arrest on February 11, 2013, a report appearing in Josei Seven (Mar. 14) said that she was a habitual thief with a penchant for high-end brand items and cosmetics.

Ito is believed to have used the funds obtained from Shirata for living expenses and the purchase expensive gems, but, says the aforementioned reporter, she did not give off an image of a person with such tastes.

“When she entered the courtroom, you could see that she was quite fat,” says the reporter. “It was a look totally different from what one might expect.”

Sanae Ito
Sanae Ito (Twitter)

For Kikuchi, it was clear that Ito had played him for a fool.

“Ito was my first experience with a woman,” Kikuchi told the court. “All of my salary went to her, and my savings as well.”

In handing down the sentencing, judge Katayama said that Kikuchi had opportunities to refuse Ito’s request to participate in the crimes on two occasions.

Kikuchi told the court that he was deeply troubled by the sexual relationship that existed between Ito and Shirata.

“When she spoke of having sex with him each time they met, I got a feeling of jealousy,” he said.

Just like Kijima, says Shukan Jitsuwa, just like Kijima.

Source: “Futamata wo ayatsuri otoko wo homutta konkatsu saito satsujin saiban,” Shukan Jitsuwa (Aug. 21-28, page 226)