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Forensic experts offer opposing views in appeal trial over young girl's murder

Forensic doctors appearing as witnesses in an appeal trial over the 2005 murder of a 7-year-old girl gave opposing accounts on whether the accused man's testimony matches evidence left at the murder scene and the condition of the body.

Takuya Katsumata, 35, was sentenced to life in prison in April last year over the murder of then 7-year-old Yuki Yoshida in today's Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, in 2005. The second hearing of the appeal trial was held on Oct. 30 at the Tokyo High Court.

The Utsunomiya District Court last year found the defendant guilty after acknowledging the credibility of his confession at the time of the police investigation when Katsumata said he "made the victim stand on a forest road and stabbed her 10 times in the chest and other places in six to seven seconds while holding her right shoulder."

On this particular part of the confession, professor Kenichi Yoshida of Tokyo Medical University who spoke at the court as a witness for the defendant said, "Considering how the wounds were made to the body and the depth of the wounds, it is hard to think that the defendant stabbed the victim that many times in a short period of time while making her stand."

Meanwhile, professor Koichi Uemura of Tokyo Medical and Dental University who stood in court as a witness for the prosecutors opposed Yoshida's description, saying, "Since it happened only in six to seven seconds, the victim could have been conscious (while she was being stabbed) and she could have remained standing but did not move."

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