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Supreme Court upholds death sentence for Tottori woman over 2 murders

Miyuki Ueta
Miyuki Ueta has been sentenced to death in the killing of two men in 2009

TOKYO (TR) – The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a death sentence in an appeal in the serial-murder trial of Miyuki Ueta, reports the Sankei Shimbun (July 27).

Ueta, a former bar hostess from Tottori Prefecture, was accused of murdering and robbing two men in 2009.

“She committed murder to escape debt repayment in planned and cruel crimes in which murderous intent was strong,” said presiding judge Hiroshi Koike from the first petty bench in rejecting the appeal. “Criminal responsibility is extremely heavy.”

Kazumi Yabe, a 47-year-old truck driver, died in a drowning at sea in April 2009. Electrician Hideki Maruyama, 57, was found beaten and face down in the Mani River in October of that same year, with the case initially being ruled as a suicide by Tottori Prefectural Police.

Ueta had borrowed 2.7 million yen from Yabe. For Maruyama, she owed him 530,000 yen for the purchase of home appliances.

In coming to his decision, judge Koike concluded that Ueta was the last point of contact for both victims; put the victims to sleep with drug-filled concoctions just before their deaths; and committed the crimes to escape from debts.

The defense had argued that it was impossible for Ueta to bring drugged men to the crime scenes herself.

In 2012, Ueta was sentenced to death by the Tottori District Court. Two years later, the Hiroshima High Court rejected an appeal by the defense.