'BESTIAL' INSURANCE KILLINGS
Moneylender sentenced to death
Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2002
Death row inmate files retrial petition
31st January 2008
A death row inmate convicted of killing two people for insurance money has filed a petition for a retrial, claiming prosecutors forced one of his accomplices to commit perjury, his lawyers said Saturday. The Saitama District Court has received the petition from Shigeru Yagi, 59, who was convicted of killing the victims in conspiracy with three women in 1995 and 1999 in Honjo, Saitama Prefecture.
In the petition, Yagi said the prosecutors had told one of the women that she would be hanged if she admitted to the charges, according to his lawyers. The woman, 41, is now serving her life sentence. The district court initially sentenced Yagi to death in 2002, determining that the testimony of the three women that they were involved in the murders under Yagi’s orders was convincing. Two other women were sentenced to 15 years and 12 years in prison.
Yagi loses appeal against death sentence
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the death sentence for Shigeru Yagi, a moneylender who flaunted his wealth on TV and taunted police, for killing two men and attempting to murder another for life insurance payouts in the 1990s.
Yagi, 58, was sentenced to death in 2002 by the Saitama District Court. The Tokyo High Court turned down his appeal in 2005.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court's First Petty Bench rejected Yagi's appeal against the death sentence on grounds his crimes were elaborately planned and vicious.
"The accused has denied the allegations and shown no sign of remorse for taking the lives of two men," the court said.
According to the ruling, Yagi, who also operated a bar in Honjo, Saitama Prefecture, conspired with three bar hostesses to stage marriages between two of the women and the victims, who were regular customers at the bar, and take out life insurance policies on them.
After one of the hostesses married a 45-year-old former factory worker, Yagi fed him a bun laced with aconite, killing him in June 1995.
Insurance companies paid out a combined 300 million yen on policies after the man's death.
Starting in 1998, Yagi and his accomplices also duped a 61-year-old former pachinko parlor worker and a 47-year-old former construction painter into consuming large doses of a cold medicine together with large amounts of liquor after the two wed the hostesses.
The 61-year-old man died in May 1999, while the 47-year-old man was hospitalized in critical condition.
Yagi had pleaded not guilty, arguing that the testimony of the women was not reliable.
The three women were all convicted in the cases.(IHT/Asahi: July 18,2008)
Top court dismisses man's appeal against death sentence
(Mainichi Japan) July 17, 2008
The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed an appeal filed by a man sentenced to death for masterminding the murder of two men and the attempted murder of another man in Saitama Prefecture in the 1990s.
The defendant, 58-year-old Shigeru Yagi, had pleaded not guilty to the crimes.
The focal point during the trial was the credibility of statements made by Mayumi Take, 41, who claimed she carried out the crimes at the instruction of Yagi.
Yagi laced bread with aconite and gave it to Shuichi Sato, 45, a former factory worker, who ate it and died in June 1995, according to lower court rulings.
The defendant falsely reported to a life insurance company that Sato committed suicide, and swindled the firm out of more than 300 million yen in benefits from a life insurance policy taken out on him, the court found.
Yagi was also convicted of making Akira Morita, 61, a former pachinko parlor employee, take a massive mount of cold medicine and alcohol, killing him in May 1999. Moreover, he was found guilty to attempting to murder a 47-year-old man.
Top court upholds moneylender's death sentence
The Japan Times: Friday, July 18, 2008
The Supreme Court rejected an appeal Thursday by a former moneylender convicted of murdering two men and attempting to murder a third for insurance money in Saitama Prefecture in the 1990s, upholding the death sentence.
Shigeru Yagi, 58, of the city of Honjo, conspired with three women to kill Shuichi Sato, 45, in 1995 by making him eat a sweet bean paste bun poisoned with aconite, and collected ¥302 million in life insurance, the court said.
They also murdered Akira Morita, 61, by giving him heavy doses of cold medicine and sake, resulting in his death in 1999. Yagi was also found guilty in the attempted murder of another man in the same manner.
One of the three women has been sentenced to life in prison and the others to 15 and 12 years.
Yagi has pleaded not guilty to the charges ever since he was arrested. With Justice Tokuji Izumi presiding over the top court's First Petty Bench, the defense team also argued that their client was wrongly charged.
Because the alleged accomplices have admitted they took part in the murder-for-insurance plot upon orders from Yagi, his trial focused on the credibility of their testimony.
In 2002, the Saitama District Court deemed the women's accounts credible because they had concrete details and matched the material evidence overall. In 2005, the Tokyo High Court upheld this decision and rejected the appeal by Yagi, who then took his case to the Supreme Court.