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Friday, July 24, 2009

Confessed killer's lawyers fight claim


Staff writer

A 49-year-old man pleaded guilty Thursday to murdering, dismembering and dumping the bodies of two Filipino bar hostesses in 1999 and 2008, but his attorneys, contradicting him, said they will fight to prove his innocence in the 1999 slaying even though he did time for chopping up the victim.

Lawyers claimed the prosecution's case in the earlier slaying is only based on Hiroshi Nozaki's confession and lacks hard evidence.

At the opening of his Tokyo District Court murder trial, Hiroshi Nozaki confessed to murdering 22-year-old Honeifaith Ratila Kamiosawa at their apartment in the Daiba district of Minato Ward, Tokyo, in April 2008.

He also confessed to dismembering her body and dumping the parts in several locations, including a coin locker at the Hamamatsu Monorail Station. Nozaki also admitted murdering Elda Longakit Yoneda, 27, by strangling her at his condominium in Yokohama in 1999. He was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in 2000 for dismembering and dumping her body, but a murder case was not established at that time because of lack of evidence. Nozaki has since served his prison term.

Prosecutors said they were able to indict Nozaki for the 1999 murder this time because he confessed to strangling Yoneda after he was arrested for Kamiosawa's murder.

However, Nozaki's attorneys told the court Thursday that although they will not contest the 2008 murder, they will fight to clear their client's name in the 1999 case. They stated that Nozaki falsely confessed to murdering Yoneda out of a desire to receive the death sentence. Nozaki had attempted suicide after abandoning Kamiosawa's dismembered corpse.

The defense said Nozaki found Yoneda dead in bed, and claimed it is against the Constitution and the law to find a person guilty based only on their confession.

At the opening statement, prosecutors said Nozaki met Kamiosawa at a Filipino hostess bar in Tokyo and eventually started living with her at a high-rise apartment in December 2007 along with her child and two of her cousins, who also worked as hostesses at the bar. Nozaki did not have a job and did all the housework and took care of Kamiosawa's child when she was working.

Prosecutors said Nozaki, who learned he had colon cancer in February 2008, refused to be treated and wanted to peacefully spend time with Kamiosawa and her child before he died. However, he felt betrayed because the Filipino was ignoring him and he became angry and strangled her, they said.

As for Yoneda, prosecutors said Nozaki, who was Yoneda's hostess bar client, was also dedicated to her but strangled her because he felt she was simply using him as a convenient boyfriend.



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