Niigata man gets life for driving car into girl, 7, then molesting and strangling her
Japan Times -- Dec 06
The Niigata District Court on Wednesday sentenced a 25-year-old man to life in prison for the sexual assault and murder of a 7-year-old schoolgirl last year.

According to the ruling, Haruka Kobayashi intentionally hit the second-grader with his car while she was on her way home from school on May 7 last year in the city of Niigata, molested her in his car and then strangled her to death before abandoning her body on a railway track so it would appear that she had been hit and killed by a train.

The court noted the crime “indiscriminately targeted a vulnerable person” and described it as “vicious.”

Presiding Judge Takeshi Yamazaki said Kobayashi did not intend to kill the girl initially, but he was “aware that (strangling her) carried a high risk of killing her.”

Prosecutors had sought the death penalty, maintaining the accused had “made light of (the girl’s) life.”

去年5月、新潟市で小学2年生の女の子を殺害し、遺体を線路に遺棄した罪などに問われていた小林遼被告(25)の裁判で、新潟地裁は、無期懲役の判決を言い渡した。裁判での争点の一つは、被告に殺意があったかどうかだった。検察は、「被告は捜査段階で5分以上、首を絞めたことを認めている」として、死刑を求刑。一方、弁護側は、「首を絞めたのは気絶させるためだった」と反論し、殺人罪ではなく、傷害致死罪にあたるとして、重くても懲役10年が妥当と主張した。新潟地裁は4日、「気絶させる目的だったとしても、死亡する危険性が高い行為との認識は当然、あったものと言える」とし、被告に殺意があったと認めた。ただ、そのうえで、「同様の事件と比べて際立って残虐とは言えない」「弱者を狙った無差別的な事件だが、死刑の選択が、やむを得ないとは言えない」として、無期懲役を言い渡した。

News sources: Japan Times, ANNnewsCH
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