NAGOYA -- A man who killed his lover and another man so he could rob
them will still face the gallows after the Nagoya High Court upheld a
lower court ruling.
A death sentence the Nagoya District Court imposed on
Yoshimi Toyoda will remain after the Nagoya High Court found nothing to
support the 58-year-old's appeal.
"Your crimes were cruel and motivated with a
maliciousness that leaves no room for leniency," Presiding Judge
Nobuaki Horiuchi said. "Relatives of the victims are also
determined to see justice served."
Court records said that Toyoda drugged his live-in
lover Kazuko Nakano with sleeping pills in August 1996. He then injected
her with a lethal dose of amphetamines and buried the body in a secluded
part of Shizuoka Prefecture. He stole over 10 million yen of her cash
Toyoda's second murder conviction came from the
shooting death of restaurant owner Hide Shigeta in September 1997.
Toyoda owed Shigeta money and was unwilling to repay the debt.
The court found Yoshimi Toyoda guilty
of the August 1996 murder of Kazuko Nakano, 44, and the September 1997
slaying of Hide Shinoda, 62. The court said he killed the two to avoid
repaying money the women had loaned him.
In handing down the sentence sought by
prosecutors, Judge Tetsukazu Yamamoto said, "The criminal nature of the
defendant is extremely clear, judging from his selfish character,
contempt for human life and lack of moral standards."
Yamamoto said Toyoda used people until
they were of no use to him anymore and did not flinch from taking their
lives when that time came.
Even after considering testimony in the
defendant's favor, the judge said he had "no choice" but to sentence
Toyoda to hang.
"The defendant committed two acts of
robbery and murder within the space of little more than a year," he said.
"The victims had done nothing wrong, the methods used were base and
cruel, and there is no room for consideration of an indefinite prison
According to the court, Toyoda in
August 1996 murdered Nakano by injecting her with a lethal dose of
stimulants after drugging her with sleeping pills he had slipped into
Toyoda then stole Nakano's bankbook and
withdrew about 1 million yen from her account in September that year,
the court said.
According to prosecutors, Nakano, who
was then living with Toyoda in Kannai, Shizuoka Prefecture, had been
pressing the defendant to return money she loaned him.
Toyoda was also convicted of murdering
Shinoda, who ran a bar in Gotenba, Shizuoka Prefecture.
Toyoda conspired with Isao Doi, 38, to
steal an etching from a Shizuoka convalescent home and used it as
collateral to borrow 4.2 million yen from Shinoda in September 1997, the
court ruled. Doi, who was unemployed, was sentenced by the Nagoya
District Court to an indefinite prison term and is currently appealing
Later the same month, Toyoda killed
Shinoda by hitting her with a steel pipe and then shooting her once in
the head in a park in Owariasahi, Aichi Prefecture, the court said.
He then stole 60,000 yen in cash off
her body, which he left in a thicket, prosecutors said.
Lawyers for Toyoda said they would
appeal Wednesday's sentence.