SAGA (TR) – A court here has sentenced a 69-year-old man to life in prison over the murder of a construction executive and his female associate by burying them alive in 2014, reports the Mainichi Shimbun (Aug. 6).
At the Saga District Court on Monday, presiding judge Hiroyuki Yoshii described the acts of Teruyoshi Oho, who was accused of murder, as “cruel and relentless” in handing down the sentence.
According to the ruling, Oho used an excavator to bury the vehicle carrying Ra Si Chan, a 76-year-old Korean national who headed several real estate and construction firms in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, and his associate Chie Matsushiro, 48, at a surplus soil storage yard operated by the defendant in Saga City on August 15, 2014.
That same day, the pair left word with acquaintances in Shimonoseki that they were headed to Saga in Matsushiro’s car to attend to debt-related matters. Their bodies were unearthed in July, 2015. The cause of death was suffocation.
“Prepared in advance”
During the trial, Oho declined to comment, with his defense claiming he was innocent.
Based on records for the operation of the excavator and mobile telephones, Oho was recognized as the culprit in the case. Prior to the incident, the defendant ordered employees to to dig the hole, which measured 5 meters deep, to accommodate the vehicle. “It was a crime prepared in advance,” presiding judge Yoshii said.
Meanwhile, the prosecution sought the death penalty. The court heard that the motive of Oho was requests by Ra to repay debt. In light of this, Yoshii said, “It can not be said that [the crime] was extremely malignant, and it is hard to say that the death penalty is unavoidable.”