Matsunaga Futoshi

Death sentence to become final for man for killing 7 in Kitakyushu

(Mainichi Japan) December 13, 2011

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Supreme Court rejected on Monday an appeal by a 50-year-old man against his death sentence handed down by lower courts for killing seven people in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, leading the sentence to become final after some procedures.

Lower court decisions said Futoshi Matsunaga and his common-law wife Junko Ogata conspired to murder six people including five of Ogata's relatives between February 1996 and June 1998 when the couple shared a condominium unit with them. The couple were also held responsible for torturing Ogata's father to death.

Monday's top court ruling said Matsunaga's criminal responsibility is grave as he was a main culprit in the deaths.

"Although he implemented two of the murders, he took advantage of his psychological control on these people for leading the remaining murders," the ruling said. "The court has no choice but to endorse capital punishment."

Ogata, 49, is still on trial at the Supreme Court after the prosecution appealed the Fukuoka High Court's decision to reduce her sentence from capital punishment to life in prison.


Death sentence reduced for one of murderous pair


FUKUOKA (Kyodo) The Fukuoka High Court on Wednesday upheld the death penalty for a man deemed the main culprit in the deaths of seven people, including five of his common-law wife's relatives, from 1996 to 1998 in Kitakyushu.

The sentence issued to his common-law wife was reduced from capital punishment to life in prison.

Futoshi Matsunaga, 46, and Junko Ogata, 45, conspired to torture a 34-year-old man to death in February 1996 and then to murder five of Ogata's relatives, including her mother, in an apartment the couple shared with Ogata's family over a period of seven months ending in June 1998, according to a lower court ruling in September 2005.

The couple were also responsible for the death of Ogata's father, who died of injuries inflicted by the couple, although they did not intend to kill him, the 2005 ruling said.