The Supreme Court has made its final decision on the 1961 murders of five women with poisoned wine in Nabari, Japan. Despite the efforts of the defense team and the special appeal filed by Masaru Okunishi’s sister, Miyoko Oka, the court has chosen not to reopen the case. This marks the tenth and likely final retrial request to review the infamous murders.
Masaru Okunishi, who died at the age of 89 while on death row in 2015, was initially found guilty of killing the women, including his wife. The Nagoya High Court and the Supreme Court upheld his death sentence in 1972. However, over the years, Okunishi’s defense team and supporters have sought a retrial, presenting new evidence and challenging the legitimacy of the original verdict.
In this latest petition, the defense lawyers submitted an expert report that revealed traces of commercially available glue on the wine bottle’s seal. They argued that this indicated the possibility of someone else tampering with the bottle and that the true culprit could have administered the poison at a different location.
Despite this new evidence, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Nagoya High Court, stating that the expert report did not constitute significant new evidence to warrant a retrial. The court’s decision was not unanimous, with Justice Katsuya Uga expressing his opposition and advocating for the case to be reopened.
The murders, which occurred on March 28, 1961, at a community meeting in Nabari, Mie Prefecture, shocked the nation. Five women lost their lives, and twelve others were hospitalized after consuming the poisoned wine. While Okunishi initially confessed to the crime, he later recanted his statement before his indictment.
With the Supreme Court’s decision now final, the case is officially closed. The families of the victims and Okunishi’s supporters may have hoped for a different outcome, but justice has been ultimately served according to the highest judicial authority in Japan. The legacy of the poisoned wine murders case will continue to intrigue and captivate the public for years to come.
1. What was the final decision made by the Supreme Court regarding the 1961 murders in Nabari, Japan?
The Supreme Court has chosen not to reopen the case, marking the tenth and likely final retrial request to review the murders.
2. Who was initially found guilty of the murders?
Masaru Okunishi was initially found guilty of killing the five women, including his wife.
3. When was his death sentence upheld by the Nagoya High Court and the Supreme Court?
His death sentence was upheld in 1972.
4. What new evidence was presented in the latest petition for retrial?
The defense lawyers submitted an expert report that revealed traces of commercially available glue on the wine bottle’s seal, suggesting the possibility of someone else tampering with the bottle.
5. How did the Supreme Court respond to the new evidence?
The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Nagoya High Court, stating that the expert report did not constitute significant new evidence for a retrial.
6. How many women lost their lives in the murders, and how many were hospitalized?
Five women lost their lives, and twelve others were hospitalized after consuming the poisoned wine.
– Retrial: A new trial that takes place after the original trial has ended, usually based on new evidence or legal errors.
– Indictment: A formal accusation or charge of a serious crime, leading to a trial.