AICHI (TR) – The Nagoya District Court on Tuesday handed a 23-year-old prison term for burning the corpse of a male acquaintance earlier this year, reports the Nikkei Shimbun (Dec. 11).
Presiding judge Chie Saito handed Takuya Hattori, 22, a three-year prison term, suspended for 18 months. The prosecution had sought a prison term of 30 months.
According to the ruling, Hattori and Yuji Noma, 30, set ablaze a drum containing the dismembered corpse of Ryosuke Okada, a 28-year-old employee at a restaurant, at a residence in Inazawa City on February 24 and 25.
During the trial, the defense claimed that Hattori, who was accused of destruction of a corpse, did not know the drum contained a corpse.
The prosecution countered by arguing that it was known that the defendant told an acquaintance that he “smelled what seemed like burning flesh” as the drum burned.
In handing down the ruling, the judge said that Hattori “played essential role in the crime by supplying the drum.” She added, “Due to the foul smell, it is recognized that there was sufficient [knowledge] that a body was being burned.” However, she concluded that the defendant was following the orders of Noma.
Noma faces murder charges in the case. Meanwhile, three other persons are on trial for various crimes.
Prior to the incident, Noma and the three other defendants worked together in abducting Okada on February 23. He was then killed at a residence in Nagoya’s Higashi Ward.
According to a previous report, police believe that the corpse of Okada was cut into pieces near the residence in Inazawa, which is occupied by Hattori. The head and chest were packed into an oil drum which was set ablaze.
Previously, Okada referred personnel to a staffing agency operated by Noma. Okada is believed to have encountered a money-related problem with Noma, police said in an earlier report.
The prosecution said that it is planning to appeal the ruling handed down on Tuesday.