Japanese prosecutors seek life sentence for ex-U.S. base worker over murder of local woman

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-24 16:31:41|Editor: liuxin
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TOKYO, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- Japanese prosecutors at the Naha District Court in Okinawa on Friday sought life imprisonment for a former U.S. Marine and civilian base worker who stands accused of raping and killing a 20-year-old woman in Japan's southernmost prefecture.

According to the prosecutors, the defendant, Kenneth Franklin Shinzato, committed "extremely heinous and selfish crimes," as quoted by local media.

In their closing arguments, the prosecutors maintained that the defendant "stabbed the victim in the neck with a knife three to four times and struck her with a bar on the back of her head five to 10 times, therefore he had the intent to kill the victim," according to local reports.

Shinzato's defense counsel reiterated their client's denial of intent to murder, suggesting that the victim may have died as a result of falling.

Shinzato, 33, was working at a company within the premises of the U.S. Kadena Air Base in Okinawa at the time of the incident in April, 2016.

He has admitted to the charges of rape resulting in death and abandoning the victim's body, but denies accusations of premeditated murder.

The fatal attack is believed to have taken place on a road in Uruma in central Okinawa at around 10:00 p.m. local time (1300 GMT) on April 28, 2016.

According to the indictment, Shinzato struck the woman on the head with a metal bar and fatally stabbed her in the neck with a knife to stop her from struggling.

Shinzato said he had intended to let the woman go after raping her, and denied that he had intended to murder her, with his defense counsel stating that he did not stab her during the initial assault, local media reported.

But prosecutors maintained that Shinzato had intended to murder her and referenced the victim's neck being stabbed multiple times and the fact that Shinzato had prepared a knife and a suitcase to transport the body.

The accused also changed his clothes at a hotel following the murder, prosecutors previously said, according to local media accounts.

Amid rising anti-U.S. base sentiment in Okinawa, prosecutors said Friday that Shinzato committed "grave crimes as he assaulted an innocent woman like a phantom killer and took her future."

"No sincere apologies have been offered to the victim's family and he has shown no remorse," the prosecutors also said.

In August last year, Shinzato requested that the trial to be held outside Okinawa, fearing a local lay judge trail could be biased by the rising anti-U.S. base sentiment on the island. But the demand was rejected by the Supreme Court.

The court will hand down its ruling on the case on Dec. 1.