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Tokyo court hands man life term over murder of teen girl

Masahiro Aoki
Masahiro Aoki has been sentenced to life in prison in the murder of Kana Iwase two years ago

TOKYO (TR) – A Tokyo court on Tuesday handed down a sentence of life in prison to a 31-year-old man over the murder of a teenage girl two years ago, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (May 23).

At the Tokyo District Court, presiding judge Hajime Shimada described the actions of Masahiro Aoki, a resident of Edogawa Ward, as “extremely selfish” in the killing of 17-year-old Kana Iwase.

“The court recognizes the main purpose of the crime was to strangle the victim and commit rape,” the judge said in handing down the ruling.

Aoki and Iwase were co-workers at a convenience store in Katsushika Ward. On the afternoon of November 12, 2015, the defendant met up with the victim, then a third-year high school student, at JR Koiwa Station under the pretense that he had cosmetics samples to give her.

The defendant then took her back to his apartment where he strangled her to death with his hands. He also robbed her of about 7,500 yen in cash.

Two days later, Aoki notified police by telephone that he had killed a person. Officers arriving at his residence found Iwase’s unclothed body in his bathtub.

The ruling handed down by the court was that sought by the prosecution. The defense argued that because the defendant gave himself up two days after committing the crime he should be eligible for a 30-year prison sentence. Judge Shimada, however, ruled that the police were closing in on the defendant just prior to his apprehension, rendering the claim insignificant.

The family of Iwase sought capital punishment. Judge Shimada said that handing down such a ruling must be done cautiously, adding that with a single victim and no prior criminal record for the defendant a life term was suitable.