Killer of Vietnamese girl in Japan faces death

By Mi Na   June 17, 2018 | 11:38 pm PT
Killer of Vietnamese girl in Japan faces death
Police arrest Yasumasa Shibuya (L) on April 14, 2017. Photo by Vietnam News Agency
Accused has insisted his innocence, put prosecution claims DNA evidence proves his guilt.

Japanese prosecutors have demanded the death penalty for a local man accused of killing a 9-year-old Vietnamese girl last year.

Yasumasa Shibuya, 47, committed a "cold-blooded, heinous and cruel" crime, prosecutors at the Chiba District Court said at a hearing on Monday, Kyodo News reported.

The victim, Le Thi Nhat Linh, went missing after she left home for school in Matsudo City, an hour northeast of Tokyo.

Her body was discovered two days later.

According to the indictment, Shibuya took Linh into his car on the morning of March 24, 2017 before sexually assaulting and killing the girl in the vehicle and abandoning her body near a drainage ditch in Abiko, also in Chiba Prefecture.

Shibuya, who was a neighbor of Linh's family and also head of the parent’s association at the girl’s school, has denied the charge, saying he is innocent.

Prosecutors said blood and saliva matching Linh’s DNA was found in Shibuya's car and that Shibuya's DNA was also found from the victim's body.

They refuted the defense’s claim that the DNA could have been planted, saying blood was detected over a large area, indicating it was left during the crime, the Kyodo News report said.

Linh’s parents, who live and work in Japan, have been gathering signatures from both countries, hoping that public pressure would prompt prosecutors to call for Shibuya to be sentenced to death.

In Japan, murder can be punished with death and executions are carried out by hanging. The punishment is usually imposed in cases of multiple murders, though some single murderers have also been hanged when their crime was considered particularly serious.

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