Isogai Case

Rie Isogai, a beautiful young woman, was murdered by three men. Two of the three received death sentences, one was sentenced to life imprisonment. The main culprit, Kanda, abandoned his appeal and accepted the sentence of death. The other death sentenced defendant, Hori, appealed and was resentenced to life imprisonment.

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2 sentenced to death, 1 to life imprisonment over 2007 murder of Nagoya woman

Mainichi Daily News March 18,2009

Rie Isogai, who was kidnapped, robbed and murdered in August 2007. (Pool photo)

NAGOYA -- Two of three men found guilty of the kidnapping, robbery and murder of a Nagoya woman were sentenced to death Wednesday, with the third sentenced to life in prison.

The Nagoya District Court sentenced Tsukasa Kanda, 38, and Yoshitomo Hori, 33, to death while Kenji Kawagishi, 42, was sentenced to life imprisonment.

(From left) Tsukasa Kanda, Yoshitomo Hori, and Kenji Kawagishi, who were sentenced Wednesday for the murder of Rie Isogai.

Prosecutors argued that all three of the defendants bore heavy responsibility for the kidnapping, robbery and murder of Rie Isogai on Aug. 24, 2007. However, Presiding Judge Hiroko Kondo determined that Kanda had "played a leading role" in the crime.

The three men, who met on a mobile phone-based underground Web site, were judged to have begun hatching their robbery plan while they sat together in a car in the parking lot of a video rental shop in Nagoya's Midori Ward on the day of the crime. According to the court's findings, Hori said, "I really want to get my hands on 300,000 yen," to which Kanda replied, "We should kidnap a woman, get her to tell us her (bank card) PIN, and then we can withdraw the money." Kanda then suggested that they kill their victim afterwards, and the other two agreed, making the murder premeditated, the court heard.

After the conversation in the car, the three men moved to a family restaurant in Kita Ward, where they continued to discuss their plans. The court said the three men settled on their plan to rob and murder a woman "no later than around 7 p.m., when the defendants left the family restaurant."

The prosecutor emphasized during closing statements that "the defendants were agreed in their plan to kidnap and murder their victim from the outset, and they reconfirmed their intentions on the day of the crime."

The defendants' attorney argued that "at the time the three assembled (on the day of the crime), they had not clearly communicated their intentions, and the crime itself was improvised. The defendants did not decide on a method to kill their victim, nor a place to carry out the murder, and the killing of Isogai was itself accidental."

According to the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, since the so-called "Nagayama Precedent" set by a 1983 Supreme Court decision, the vast majority of death sentences handed out in murder cases with one victim have involved demands for ransom money or crimes committed by people on parole. However, prosecutors called for the death penalty in this case because "society was appalled at the indiscriminate kidnapping and murder of Isogai."

The defense, meanwhile, claimed that "compared to past crimes resulting in death sentences, this murder cannot be said to be especially vicious."

The judgment found that the three defendants forced Isogai into a car as she was walking home from work in Nagoya's Chikusa Ward on Aug. 24, 2007. They murdered her in the predawn hours of Aug. 25 in an Aisai, Aichi Prefecture, parking lot, bludgeoning her with a hammer and choking her to death, the ruling said. The three defendants were convicted of stealing approximately 62,000 yen from Isogai's handbag.

(Mainichi Japan) March 18, 2009

闇サイト殺人、一審死刑の被告に無期判決 名古屋高裁









Death penalty sought for 3 'crime mate' killers acquainted via Internet

Internet Crime Mates
Note: Seeking the death penalty for a single murder is is highly unusual in Japan, and unheard of for 3 suspects charged with one crime.


January 20th, 2008


Prosecutors on Tuesday sought the death penalty for three men accused of killing a woman in 2007 after they became acquainted with each other through a mobile phone bulletin board that is used for exchanging dubious information such as on drug trafficking and finding ‘‘crime mates.’’

Presiding Judge Hiroko Kondo at the Nagoya District Court said she will give a decision March 18 on the three―Tsukasa Kanda, 37, a former newspaper salesman, Yoshitomo Hori, 33, and Kenji Kawagishi, 42, both unemployed.

The prosecutors filed the demand as they presented a closing argument accusing the defendants of committing an ‘‘extremely cruel’’ crime that completely lacks humanity.

The prosecution argued that there is no reason to avoid sentencing capital punishment for Kawagishi, who had surrendered to police, saying that he cannot be found reflecting on his deeds.

According to the prosecutors, the three men got acquainted with each other over the bulletin board, called the ‘‘employment service agency in the dark.’’

The defendants allegedly abducted Rie Isogai, then 31, an office worker, using a car while she was on her way home on a street in Nagoya on Aug 24, 2007.

After allegedly stealing her money and belongings, the three then beat Isogai with a hammer repeatedly and strangled her with a rope early the following morning in Aisai, Aichi Prefecture, near Nagoya.

They also allegedly dumped Isogai’s body in a forest in Mizunami, Gifu Prefecture, about 50 kilometers northeast of Nagoya.

At Tuesday’s court session, the victim’s mother, Fumiko Isogai, 57, took the witness stand, telling the three-judge panel, ‘‘My daughter is alive in my mind. I’d like to see the defendants expiate themselves with their lives.’’


150,000 sign petition seeking death
for 3 killers acquainted via Internet

Wednesday, October 24, 2007 at 06:50 EDT

NAGOYA — The mother of a woman killed in August submitted to the Nagoya District Public Prosecutors Office on Tuesday the signatures of about 150,000 people calling for the death penalty for three men charged with murder and robbery in the case. The three have been indicted on charges of killing Rie Isogai, 31, after they allegedly became acquainted through a mobile phone Internet site seeking "crime mates" in order to commit a crime to get money.

Fumiko Isogai, 56, told prosecutors, "Those men who did these horrible things to my daughter are not human beings. I hope the judges will understand my feeling," as she brought in the signatures in four cardboard boxes to the prosecutors office building. The defendants — Tsukasa Kanda, Yoshitomo Hori and Kenji Kawagishi — allegedly kidnapped Isogai, an officer worker, at random by car on a street in Nagoya on Aug 24, robbed her of about 60,000 yen and killed her. (Kyodo News)