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Ex-policeman gets 22-year prison term for fatally shooting boss

A police officer stands in front of a police box in Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, on April 11, 2018, where a police sergeant was shot to death earlier in the day, with a 19-year-old fellow officer arrested as the suspect. (Kyodo)

OTSU, Japan (Kyodo) -- A 20-year-old former policeman was sentenced Friday to 22 years in prison for shooting his boss to death at a police box in the western Japan prefecture of Shiga last April.

In handing down the ruling, Presiding Judge Hiroki Ito of the Otsu District Court said the man exhibited symptoms of adjustment disorder but it "did not strongly affect his capacity for making judgements and controlling behavior."

The ex-policeman, whose name is being withheld because he was a minor at the time of the crime, admitted to fatally shooting 41-year-old Akira Imoto, who was in charge of training him. His lawyer claimed the man was suffering from an adjustment disorder as he was under psychological stress due to undergoing strict training.

The judge found the man fully competent, focusing on the fact he knew where to aim to fatally shoot Imoto and maintained vivid memories of the incident, while admitting the man had lost confidence through Imoto's harsh training to which he eventually unleashed pent-up anger.

During the trial, the lawyer had requested leniency, saying he was in a mental state with limited capability for judging between right and wrong. Prosecutors had sought a 25-year prison term.

According to the indictment, the former policeman shot Imoto in the back and head at the police box in Hikone at around 7:45 p.m. last April 11 and fled by police car. He had a handgun and ammunition in his possession while remaining at large until 8:30 p.m. that day.

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