Prosecutors sum up in Furlong case
Irish exchange student Nicola Furlong: was murdered in a Tokyo hotel room in May last year.
Prosecutors in Tokyo have demanded a four-year prison term for one of two American men accused of luring Irish woman Nicola Furlong (21) to her death in a central Tokyo hotel last year.
James Blackston (23) has denied sexually assaulting the exchange student's unidentified Irish friend at the Keio Plaza Hotel on May 24th while Ms Furlong was being strangled in a nearby room.
Richard Hinds (19) has admitted the killing but denied intent. He is in custody in Tokyo and his trial begins next month.
Mr Blackston, a professional dancer, also denies a separate sexual assault on another woman about a month earlier. He has argued throughout the trial at the Tokyo District Court that he was pursued by both women.
In their summation, prosecutors said multiple testimony and evidence from surveillance cameras proved Ms Furlong, described as 'Victim A', was forcibly brought to Mr Blackston's hotel room.
"There is absolutely no reason to believe the defendant's claim that the victim was interested in him," they said. The court previously heard that Ms Furlong and her friend were unconscious when they arrived by taxi at the hotel and that the two men borrowed wheelchairs to carry them to their rooms.
Surveillance footage shows Mr Blackston groping the victim in the back of a taxi on the way to the hotel and records him using explicit sexual language, apparently intent on assaulting her.
In response, Mr Blackston's defence demanded a not guilty verdict for both assaults, saying the victims' testimony was "not credible". Lawyer Tsutomu Nakamura said the taxi footage was inconclusive. "The conversation recorded was meaningless. People say lots of things when they’re drunk."
He added that video surveillance taken in the hotel elevator on the way to the rooms showed Ms Furlong reviving and making "no verbal of physical attempt to resist".
Mr Nakamura said the victim wanted to hide the fact that she was sexually interested in his client and went to his room voluntarily. "She told so many lies in his testimony," he added.
In his final deposition to the court, Mr. Blackston said he felt "sorrow" for the victim "and the passing away of her friend".
He added: "My fiancé and the rest of my family are patiently waiting for me to come home."
The prosecutors failed to produce police toxicology reports that might have proved suspicions that the women's drinks were spiked at a bar after attending a rap concert. Mr Blackston and his defence team have consistently argued that the women drank too much and went to the hotel voluntarily.
The verdict in the case is due on March 13th. Mr Nakamura said he was "confident" his client would receive a suspended sentence.