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Peruvian man sentenced to death over 2015 murders in Saitama

Vayron Jonathan Nakada Ludena (Mainichi)

SAITAMA, Japan (Kyodo) -- A Peruvian man accused of killing six people, including two girls, in their homes in Saitama Prefecture in 2015 was sentenced to death Friday by a Japanese court.

    The Saitama District Court handed down the capital punishment on Vayron Jonathan Nakada Ludena, 32, who was charged with murder-robbery. The sentence was reached by a panel of professional and lay judges.

    While prosecutors had sought the death penalty, Nakada Ludena's defense counsel had demanded acquittal, claiming he has schizophrenia and was not mentally competent to be held responsible for his conduct.

    According to the indictment, Nakada Ludena broke into three homes in the city of Kumagaya, north of Tokyo, from Sept. 14 to 16 in 2015 to steal money and valuable items.

    He stabbed to death a couple in their 50s, an 84-year-old woman, and a 41-year-old woman and her 10-year-old and 7-year-old daughters in their respective homes, and stole a car and some 9,000 yen ($84) in cash.

    Nakada Ludena was arrested the following month in connection with the couple's deaths, having been hospitalized after plunging from a second-floor window at the third home on Sept. 16. Police subsequently served him with further arrest warrants relating to the other victims.

    His lawyers had argued he acted under the overwhelming influence of his mental illness.

    The prosecutors had admitted the defendant was getting paranoid at the time of the crimes but insisted he was competent to judge between right and wrong.


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