Katsuki Ryo

Mentally handicaped Defendant

Examination shows fingerprints do not match defendant in child murder case

The defense counsel for a man indicted in the murder of a 5-year-old girl in Chiba Prefecture has obtained an expert opinion that the fingerprint and palm patterns detected on material evidence do not match those of the defendant, the chief lawyer said Wednesday. Police have claimed the fingerprint and palm patterns of Ryo Katsuki, 22, were detected on a plastic shopping bag that contained the shoes of the murder victim, Yukimaro Narita.

But the latest examination at a private institution concluded they do not match, according to lawyer Hiroaki Soejima. The inspector at the institution has been involved in fingerprint examinations for the Tochigi prefectural police for 29 years.

Based on the result, Soejima will seek a new investigation into the murder case during the pretrial arrangement on Thursday, saying, ‘‘There is no material evidence to suggest the defendant is guilty. The real culprit is another person.’‘

Katsuki is accused of taking the girl to his home in Togane, killing her and abandoning her body at a nearby yard in September last year.

Soejima said, ‘‘The only evidence is the defendant’s confession, but he was induced by investigators who took advantage of his mental handicap.’‘

Although Katsuki is 22, he has a mental age of between five and nine.