Hangman Cheated.
Ex-gangster gets life term for killing officer in standoff



NAGOYA--The Nagoya District Court on Wednesday sentenced a former gangster to life in prison for murdering a police officer and injuring three other people while holding his ex-wife hostage at his home.

Hisato Obayashi, 52, was found guilty of fatally shooting Kazuho Hayashi, 23, a police special assault team (SAT) member, as he attempted to rescue another officer earlier wounded by a shot from Obayashi's .38-caliber revolver.

He was also convicted of shooting and injuring his son and daughter during the 29-hour siege in Nagakute, Aichi Prefecture, in May 2007. The ex-wife was slightly injured.

The focus of the trial was whether the court would choose the death sentence as demanded by prosecutors, which is rarely given in cases involving a single death.

In sentencing Obayashi to a life term, Presiding Judge Osamu Ito denied the suspect had a strong intent to kill Hayashi, even though he knew the shot could hit and kill someone.

The court also convicted Obayashi of inflicting injury on his daughter, not attempted murder, after rejecting the prosecutors' argument that the suspect knew his action could kill her.

"The consequences of his use of a gun to kill and injure four people were grave, and it was an extremely malicious act to use a critically injured policeman as a negotiating card," Ito said.

He was referring to Akifumi Kimoto, the first officer shot when he responded to a call from Obayashi's family. Kimoto, who lay bleeding on the ground for five hours because Obayashi prevented his rescue, now uses a wheelchair.

"But it is not possible to completely deny the possibility of (Obayashi's) rehabilitation, and it cannot be said that capital punishment is unavoidable," the judge said.

The ruling said Obayashi's crimes occurred as he tried to prevent police from interfering in his attempts to mend relations with his former wife.

The case was thus different from robbery-murder or kidnap-murder, and also could not be called an act of terror, the judge said.

Prosecutors said they plan to appeal.

While Obayashi's defense team argued that his judgment at the time was impaired because he had taken a large amount of tranquilizers, the court ruled he was mentally capable of taking responsibility for his actions.

"The medicine was evaluated as safe and did not affect his mental capacity," the ruling said. "His words and deeds at the time of the crime were rational."

Meanwhile, Hayashi's father, Chiyokazu, has urged tighter controls on gun possession and use and stricter penalties.

Obayashi used a powerful .38-caliber revolver that he bought from a gangster acquaintance. He had buried the gun in his yard about 20 years ago, and dug it up a few days before the crime occurred.

"Illegally possessing a gun and firing it alone would deserve capital punishment," the father had told the court.

On Wednesday, the father, 53, said in a statement that he hopes the ruling will make people think about how to prevent gun crimes.

Kazuho Hayashi is survived by his wife and baby daughter.(IHT/Asahi: December 18,2008)

Gangster who killed cop gets life

Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008

NAGOYA (Kyodo) A former gangster was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison for fatally shooting a police officer and seriously injuring three other people last year after holing up in his home with his ex-wife as a hostage.

Hisato Obayashi, 52, fatally shot Kazuho Hayashi, 23, a member of the special assault team of the Aichi Prefectural Police, during the May 2007 incident in Nagakute that riveted the nation.

Obayashi seized his former wife, also 52, at his home and shot police officer Akifumi Kimoto, 55, as well as his own 27-year-old son and 23-year-old daughter.

Hayashi was gunned down when he tried to rescue Kimoto.

Demanding Obayashi receive the death penalty, prosecutors argued he carefully leveled his gun at Hayashi, holding it with both hands when he fired. They said he also was clearly trying to kill Kimoto and his son by shooting them at close range with the gun aimed at vital parts of their bodies.

Obayashi's lawyers said Obayashi's ability to control his actions was diminished at the time due to a heavy drug overdose.