Funahashi, Higuchi, and Shibayama May Be Tried As Adults For Uemura Murder

Update to this story

Murder victim Uemura Ryota at 10 years old

Prosecutors at the Yokohama District Court will decide within the next week whether three minors—arrested for the murder of a 13-year-old boy in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, in February—will be tried as adults.

The latest development comes after the Yokohama Family Court decided on Tuesday to send the three suspects, two boys aged 18 (Ringleader: Funahashi Ryuichi and Higuchi Toshio)  and one boy aged 17, Shibayama Kazuya, back to prosecutors, Fuji TV reported.

The three were arrested on suspicion of killing Ryota Uemura whose naked body was found on the bank of the Tama River in Kawasaki on Feb 20. Funahashi has told police he killed Uemura with a box cutter that was found near the scene of the crime, while the other two have pleaded not guilty to the murder.

Shibayama, Funahashi in pink, Higuchi, and Uemura in cap days before murder

Ringleader Funahashi said that he killed Uemura because he told others how he had been beaten for refusing to shoplift at Funahashi's instructions. Before killing Uemura,  Funahashi said he also ordered him to swim naked in the river to punish him. 

Uemura joined a gang whose members were aged from 12 to 20 last November. Uemura was seriously beaten in mid-January and was rarely seen at school after that.

Police have established from records on Line that Shibayama contacted Uemura on the night of Feb 19, telling him to come out and meet them. The three suspects were identified through street surveillance camera footage that showed them walking with Uemura toward the spot where he was murdered. Footage showed them walking back without Uemura.

The suspects burned the victim’s clothes and shoes in a public toilet about 800 meters from where the victim’s body was found. 

Shibayama said he wanted to intervene when he saw Uemura lying on the ground bleeding, but that Funahashi threatened to kill him, too.

Funahashi in Tweet day after he murdered Uemura

From Jiji Press and Dallas Brincrest.

(Since the court may try the suspects as adults they have been named in the story.  This is legal even if the court decides otherwise.  We are an independent news source with no Press Club alliance.)


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