High court OK’s retrial for woman over 1979 murder

Jiji Press MIYAZAKI (Jiji Press) — The Miyazaki branch of the Fukuoka High Court on Monday upheld a lower court decision to open a retrial for a Japanese woman, 90, over the 1979 murder of a 42-year-old man in the town of Osaki in Kagoshima Prefecture.

Granting the retrial for Ayako Haraguchi, who finished her prison term about 28 years ago over the case, the high court branch turned down public prosecutors’ objection to the Kagoshima District Court’s June 2017 decision on the fresh trial for Haraguchi, which was made on her third plea.

The Miyazaki branch also approved a retrial of her late former husband over the incident.

Presiding Judge Wataru Nemoto said a forensic analysis suggesting that hemorrhagic shock resulting from a fall or another accident was highly likely to be the cause of the victim’s death is new and sufficiently trustworthy.

The new piece of evidence was submitted by Haraguchi’s side.

Comprehensively judging from new and old evidence, the finalized ruling that the man was choked to death with a towel is rationally doubtful, and the facts of the murder of the man and the abandonment of his body by Haraguchi cannot be maintained, Nemoto said.

Nemoto also said that testimonies by her relatives who were judged conspirators were unreliable. The new evidence shows that Haraguchi’s innocence is clear, he said.

The victim’s body was found at a cowshed at his home in Osaki in October 1979.Speech

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