Richard Hinds, the 19 year old American who has been on trial for the murder of Irish student Nicola Furlong, was found guilty by the Tokyo District Court on Tuesday afternoon. He was given the maximum sentence of 10 years in prison with labor, but not to be released until after at least 5 years.
As Hinds is under the age of 20, by Japanese law he is still recognized as a minor, and this was the maximum punishment to be handed down, which was what the prosecutors were seeking. The chief judge stated that it was clear that Hinds had shown “no remorse” for his actions, and had “tainted the honor of the victim.” Hinds was on trial for strangling Furlong in a Tokyo hotel room after he and a friend met the victim and another Irish student at a bar in late May, 2012.
Throughout the trail, evidence was presented that the young women were heavily intoxicated when leaving the bar with the two Americans, Hinds and 23 year old James Blackston. Video from the taxi they took to the hotel showed the two young men casually talking about how they were going to have sex with them, and security cameras from the hotel lobby caught them using wheelchairs to carry the Irish girls up to their rooms. Hinds pleaded that he was innocent of murder, but admitted to lightly pressing on the girl’s neck during consensual sex. Blackston was found guilty last week of sexually assaulting Furlong’s friend, whose identity hasn’t been released, during the taxi ride, and was sentenced to 3 years in prison.