Japanese Man Granted Retrial After 46 Years On Death Row

A Japanese man has been granted a retrial after spending 46 years on death row for the murder of his boss, his boss's wife and the couple's two kids.
Posted at 1:33 PM, Mar 27, 2014

​A Japanese man who spent a record 46 years on death row has been granted a retrial. The BBC describes the man's alleged crimes.

"In 1966 four people died: Mr. Hakamada's boss, his boss's wife and their two children. They were found stabbed in their home. The home was then set on fire."

The BBC reports Iwao Hakamada confessed to the crimes but later retracted his confession because he said he was beaten during the interrogation.

Still, Hakamada was convicted, spending 46 years on death row, nearly all of which were in solitary confinement.

The Guardian reports the judge who granted the retrial said investigators may have been dishonest during the original trial. "There is a possibility that [key pieces of] evidence have been fabricated by investigative bodies."

A writer for Sky News says the clothes used as evidence in the case didn't fit him and the bloodstains were too fresh to match up with the murders.

And The Washington Post reports a judge from Hakamada's original trial later expressed his concerns over the ruling: "The guilty verdict was based solely on Hakamada confessing to the killings. But he confessed after being confined and tortured in a small room for 20 days. … I have felt sadness and disappointment over this."

After decades of campaigning by his lawyers, his family and other supporters, a Japanese court granted the retrial.

Sky News captured his sister's message for those who helped over the years:

"It's all thanks to your support and help. All I can say is I'm really happy."