The Supreme Court of Japan denied the retrial request from an octogenarian convicted of killing his wife and other women in Nabari, Mie Prefecture. The decision was made known Wednesday, leaving the man, sentenced to death, to remain on death-row.
Masaru Okunishi was charged with poisoning his wife and mistress on March 28, 1961. Both were killed after drinking the pesticide-laced wine in a remote mountain village. Three other women also died, while a dozen others got ill. Okunishi used to work as a farmer and is claimed to have confessed to the poisoning to end marital disputes involving the third-party. He withdrew his initial confession and was acquitted by the Tsu District Court in a trial three years later for lack of evidence.
However, the 1964 court decision was overturned by the Nagoya High Court in 1969. In the same year, Okunishi was sentenced to death, which was finalized by the Supreme Court in 1972. A request for reconsideration to reopen the case was made by Okunishi, granted by the high court in 2005. But a panel overturned the decision the following year.
Okunishi made another appeal citing that he was coerced by the police. According to a review of the case, the poison used in the wine was not a tetraethyl pyrophosphate, which was identified in the case report. But it may now be too late for any reconsideration or retrial. At the age of 87, Okunishi is one of the oldest serving death row inmates in Japan.
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