Kaga Toshiaki

Death upheld for '01 killer of mom, daughter
Friday, June 6, 2008

Kyodo News

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the death penalty for a 47-year-old man convicted of murdering a woman and her daughter and stealing their money in Isehara, Kanagawa Prefecture, in 2001.

The top court's five-justice First Petty Bench turned down the appeal of defendant Toshiaki Kaga, who was convicted of murder and robbery.

"The defendant's crime was premeditated and committed with a firm will to kill . . . there is no room for leniency," said Justice Chiharu Saiguchi, the presiding judge.

"The consequences for taking two people's lives are grave."

In 2004, the Yokohama District Court found Kaga guilty of fatally stabbing Kazuko Matsui, 43, with a knife after strangling her daughter, Manami, 12, on Aug. 4, 2001.

He also was convicted of stealing ¥10,000 in cash and a bank card, which he used to withdraw ¥850,000 the following day.

The Tokyo High Court upheld the sentence in 2005.

Kaga, who lived with the two victims, strangled the girl because they had a quarrel and he was angry with the way she spoke to him. He then killed her mother and stole the money to make his escape.

Justice Saiguchi said his motive for killing the daughter was totally unjustifiable.

Kaga's counsel had called for a lighter sentence, arguing that the defendant did not kill Matsui for financial reasons and had not plotted to murder her daughter.

Under the Code of Criminal Procedure, Kaga can still file an objection with the top court. But the objection would have to be limited to technicalities, such as an error in the wording, if any, of the decision.

Judicial experts said the top court has rarely accepted such an objection, which means Thursday's decision on the case is likely the final one.