Furlong suspect to face murder trial
A 19-year-old US man accused of the murder of Irish exchange student Nicola Furlong in Tokyo should be tried as an adult, a court ruled today.
The court recommended a criminal trial for the main suspect, meaning he will be tried as an adult and could face life imprisonment.
Ms. Furlong (21) was strangled in a Tokyo hotel in May. The man, who cannot be named because he is legally a minor in Japan, has admitted killing her but denied intent to kill.
The suspect, who was facing a maximum of five years in prison if tried and convicted as a minor, could face much tougher penalties, including a possible life sentence, if found guilty.
Japan retains the death penalty but almost exclusively reserves it for cases of multiple murder.
Three judges ruled after hearing impact statement from the Furlongs and police reports detailing the circumstances surrounding the death.
Their decision is thought to have hinged around police toxicology reports on Ms Furlong.
The trial will now be heard in a criminal instead of a family court.
Journalists were banned from the two hearings on the case today and yesterday but reporting restrictions are now likely to be lifted.