KANAGAWA (TR) – The Yokohama District Court on Wednesday handed an American male an 18-month prison sentence in the death of a woman in Miura City last July, reports NHK (May 25).
Presiding Judge Shigeyuki Fukasawa ruled that Gregory Gumo, 41, committed “a systematic crime” in the dumping of 42-year-old Mariko Akitaya, whose body was found floating in Koajiro Bay.
“By doing such things as preparing a plastic bag for the victim’s body, the defendant committed a systematic crime that intended to trample upon the dignity of the deceased,” the judge said. “There is no room for leniency.”
Prosecutors had previously asserted that Gumo had murdered Akitaya, a resident of Tokyo’s Meguro Ward, and dumped her body. The pursuit of a murder conviction was abandoned due to “insufficient” evidence, the prosecution decided last month.
On the morning of July 29, Akita’s body was found wrapped in a brown plastic sheet and floating about 20 meters off the coast. A towing rope had been used to attach the body to a concrete block.
With an autopsy conducted on the body revealing a large quantity of water being present in the lungs, the cause of death was determined to be drowning. Sleeping drugs were also found in her system.
The defense for Gumo argued his innocence by saying the victim was still alive at the time her body entered the water. The judge, however, concluded that the defendant thought he was disposing a body.
On the same day Akitaya’s body was found, Gumo was stopped by police as he attempted to travel to the United States on an international flight from Haneda Airport.
Prosecutors had sought a 30-month sentence in the abandonment case.