DEATH ROW YAKUZA CLAN: Convicted murderers (clockwise from top left) gang boss Jitsuo Kitamura, his wife, Mami, and their sons, Takahiro, and Takashi (Mainichi image)
FUKUOKA -- Death sentences were upheld by the Fukuoka High Court Thursday against a yakuza gang boss and his son, ensuring they will join his wife and another son on Death Row.
The court dismissed the appeals by gang boss Jitsuo Kitamura and his son, Takashi, against the lower court ruling that sentenced them to death for committing four murders in 2004.
The high court has also upheld execution orders handed down to Kitamura's wife, Mami, and another son, Takahiro, for their roles in the killings.
Each member in the family of four has now received a death sentence that has been upheld by a high court.
During his initial trial at the Kurume Branch of the Fukuoka District Court, Jitsuo Kitamura, 64, said he alone had killed all four people the clan was accused of murdering. However, during the appeal trial, Kitamura said his family had worked together to bring about the killings.
His 27-year-old son Takashi, however, has maintained his innocence throughout proceedings. The lower court ruling found Jitsuo Kitamura had committed the three murders as well as broke firearms offenses by shooting a gun off in a police station. It also noted that Takashi ran away from the police while he was being investigated in connection with the killings.
"You chose lust for money over human life in a cruel and inhuman manner that makes correction difficult," the presiding judge ruled as the death sentences were issued to the father and son.
In a separate trial, the Fukuoka High Court upheld death sentences against Mami and Takahiro Kitamura in December last year. Both the 48-year-old Mrs. Kitamura and her 23-year-old son have appealed against the verdicts.
The lower court ruled that on Sept. 16, 2004, Takashi and Takahiro Kitamura robbed and killed 15-year-old Joji Takami. Two days later, the Kitamura boys and their parents killed 58-year-old Sayoko Takami, Joji's mother, and stole 260,000 yen from her, then killed another son, 18-year-old Tatsuyuki, and his 17-year-old friend, Junichi Hara, dumping the bodies in a river.
On Sept. 22 the same year, Jitsuo Kitamura fired off a shot in the Omuta Police Station amid a botched suicide attempt. Finally, on Nov. 13, 2004, Takashi Kitamura ran away from the Kurume Branch of the Fukuoka Public Prosecutors Office in the middle of his trial.
Four members of family to hang over 4 murders
Thursday 27th March, 03:59 PM JST
The Fukuoka High Court on Thursday upheld a lower court decision that sentenced a former gangster and his elder son to death over the murder of four people in 2004 in Omuta, Fukuoka Prefecture, in conspiracy with his wife and younger son, both of whom have also been given the death penalty. Judge Katsuhiko Masaki turned down an appeal filed by Jitsuo Kitamura, 64, and his elder son Takashi, 27, against the death sentence given in February 2007 by the Fukuoka District Court’s Kurume branch. In December 2007, the high court also upheld the death sentence on Kitamura’s wife Mami, 48, and younger son Takahiro, 23. With Thursday’s decision, all four members of the gangster’s family have now been sentenced to death both at district and high court levels. According to the district court decision, the four defendants killed Sayoko Takami, a 58-year-old acquaintance, Takami’s son Tatsuyuki, 18, and his friend Junichi Hara, 17, on Sept 18, 2004. They abandoned the three bodies in a river, according to the ruling. Kitamura’s two sons have also been convicted of a separate charge of strangling Takami’s younger son Joji, then 15, and of abandoning his body in a river.
Death sentence for woman, son over murders
of 4 in Fukuoka upheld
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Tuesday, December 25, 2007 at 16:58 EST
FUKUOKA — The Fukuoka High Court on Tuesday upheld a lower court decision sentencing to death a 48-year-old woman and her second son over the murder of four people in 2004 in Omuta, Fukuoka Prefecture, in conspiracy with her husband and elder son. The Fukuoka District Court gave death sentences to Mami Kitamura and her 23-year-old son Takahiro. Her 63-year-old husband Jitsuo, a former senior gangster, and their 27-year-old son Takashi were also sentenced to death in February 2007.
According to the ruling, the four conspired to murder an acquaintance, Sayoko Takami, 58, by having her eat a lunch laced with soporific drugs on Sept 18, 2004, with the intention of stealing money from her. The four killed Takami's 18-year-old son Tatsuyuki and his 17-year-old friend Junichi Hara to silence them about the killing, and abandoned the bodies of the three in a vehicle in a river. The rulings also said Takashi and Takahiro strangled to death Takami's younger son Joji, 15, on Sept 16 that year and abandoned his body in a river. (Kyodo News)
Mobster's wife & son to hang for four murders in 2004
October 17, 2006
FUKUOKA (Kyodo) The Fukuoka District Court handed down the death penalty Tuesday to a gangster's wife and one of her sons for four murders in 2004 in Omuta, Fukuoka Prefecture.
The court's Kurume branch found Mami Kitamura, 47, and her son, Takahiro, 22, guilty of killing acquaintance Sayoko Takami, 58, her son, Tatsuyuki, 18, and his friend, Junichi Hara, 17, on Sept. 18, 2004, and dumping their corpses into a river inside a minivehicle. The son was also convicted of killing Takami's son, Joji, 15, and also dumping his body in a river.
The initial motive behind the crimes was to steal money from Takami.
Kitamura and her son pleaded guilty and have apologized to relatives of the victims.
Kitamura's husband, Jitsuo, 62, a high-ranking local yakuza, and the couple's older son, Takashi, 25, are being tried separately for the murders of Takami, Tatsuyuki and Hara. Takashi is additionally accused of conspiring with his brother to kill Joji Takami.