Chiba Shoko

Woman sentenced to death commits suicide in Sendai jail cell

29th December 2008


Officials from Miyagi prison in Sendai City said Monday that a woman in their custody had committed suicide on Sunday.

Masako Chiba, 46, was found hanging by a sheet under the window in her cell at around 11.30 a.m. Sunday and was rushed to hospital, but was confirmed dead at 12.45 p.m. Prison staff found a suicide note in the cell.

Chiba was sentenced to death by the Morioka District Court for the murder of a Buddhist priest and his mother in June last year in Ichinoseki, Iwate Prefecture, but was in the process of appealing that sentence.

The Sendai District Public Prosecutor’s Office will conduct an autopsy on Monday to confirm the cause of death.


Woman sentenced to death for murder-robbery at Iwate temple

October 09th, 2008


The Morioka District Court sentenced a 46-year-old woman to death Wednesday for killing a temple priest and his mother and robbing them of cash in Iwate Prefecture last year. ‘‘It was a premeditated crime,’’ Presiding Judge Naoto Sasaki said, handing down the ruling on Shoko Chiba as demanded by prosecutors.

Her defense lawyers admitted to her killing Hidenaga Suzuki, a 59-year-old priest of the Ennoji temple, and his 81-year-old mother Umeko in Ichinoseki on June 11, 2007, but denied her intent to commit robbery, claiming the charges of theft and murder should be applied in her case. According to the prosecutors, Chiba stabbed to death Suzuki with a kitchen knife. She also beat Umeko several times in the head with an ashtray and fatally stabbed her as well. She then stole 150,000 yen in cash.