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Death penalty finalized for man over 1998 murder of Aichi couple

This undated photo shows Yoshitomo Hori, who was sentenced to death by the Nagoya District Court on Dec. 15, 2015, for the murder of a couple in Aichi Prefecture in 1998. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's top court rejected Friday an appeal by a 44-year-old man convicted of killing a married couple during a robbery in Aichi Prefecture in 1998, initiating the process for the finalization of his death sentence.

    In conspiracy with two men, Yoshitomo Hori murdered company executive Ichio Magoori, 45, and his wife Satomi, 36, and stole about 60,000 yen ($560) after breaking into their home in the city of Hekinan in central Japan in June 1998, according to the ruling handed down by the Supreme Court's No. 2 Petty Bench.

    Presiding Judge Tsuneyuki Yamamoto said Hori's contempt for human life was "conspicuous" and the outcome was "extremely serious," recognizing that he "planned and led" the crime and played a role in the killing.

    "Their attack was based on a strong intention to kill and it's natural that the victims' son and others have demanded a harsh penalty after the two blameless people were deprived of their lives," Yamamoto said.

    Hori was also convicted of assaulting a woman in her 70s and robbing 25,000 yen at her apartment in Nagoya in July 2006.

    Hori was already sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping and murdering Rie Isogai, 31, in Nagoya in 2007, with two other men he met through a "darknet" website for finding "crime mates." The sentence was finalized but will be suspended following the formal finalization of the death sentence.

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