Skip to main content

American convicted of murdering Irish student in Tokyo hotel room

By Junko Ogura, CNN
updated 10:01 AM EDT, Tue March 19, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The victim's sister says she doesn't feel the family got justice
  • A Tokyo court finds that Richard Hinds strangled Nicola Furlong
  • It rejected the defense's claim that she died from alcohol poisoning
  • Hinds, 19, is sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, the maximum for a juvenile

Tokyo (CNN) -- A Japanese court on Tuesday found a 19-year-old American man guilty of murdering an Irish student in a Tokyo hotel room last year.

The Tokyo District Court recommended that Richard Hinds, a musician, serve no fewer than five years and no more than 10 years in prison.

The sentence was the heaviest that could be handed down to Hinds, whose age makes him a juvenile under Japanese law.

Judge Masaharu Ashizawa said the evidence showed that Hinds had strangled Nicola Furlong, the 21-year-old Irish woman, with murderous intent in May 2012.

Who killed an Irish student in Tokyo?

Ashizawa said Hinds appeared to have used a towel or something similar to carry out the act, discounting the defense's argument that the victim had died from acute alcohol poisoning.

Furlong had been studying in Tokyo on an exchange program when she met Hinds.

Her parents and sister were in court Tuesday to hear the verdict read out.

"We still don't know the truth of what happened in that room, but we know Nicola did nothing wrong," Furlong's mother, Angela, said afterward.

The victim's sister, Andrea, expressed disgust about the sentence that Hinds received, saying she didn't feel that the family got justice.

"I'm so angry and I'm so hurt," she said.

After Furlong's death last year, her parish priest, the Rev. Jim Fitzpatrick, described her as an "outgoing, bubbly sort of girl and very well liked."

Hinds' parents were also in court for the verdict Tuesday.

Another American man, James Blackston, 23, was found guilty last week of sexually assaulting Furlong's friend on the night the Irish woman died.

2 Americans arrested after death of Irish woman

A court sentenced Blackston, a dancer from the Los Angeles area, to three years in prison.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 2:51 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Sky gazers caught a glimpse of the "blood moon" crossing the Earth's shadow Tuesday in all its splendor.
updated 12:24 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Oscar Pistorius didn't consciously pull the trigger the night he shot and killed his girlfriend, the sprinter testified at his murder trial.
updated 5:16 PM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Officials are launching their next option: an underwater vehicle to scan the ocean floor.
updated 8:54 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
A mysterious new artwork has appeared in Cheltenham, where Britain's version of the NSA is located.
updated 11:23 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Like many parents across Liverpool, the McManamans waited. 25 years ago, it was all they could do.
updated 9:24 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
The Maltese Falcon makes a swift turn while at sea.
How do you design a superyacht fit for the billionaire who has everything money can buy?
updated 11:48 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Pop art condoms in Kenya
Packaging can change how people see things. And when it comes to sex, it could maybe help save lives too.
updated 11:42 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
mediterranean monk seal
Africa is home to much unique wildlife, but many of its iconic species are threatened.
updated 11:09 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
A staff stands next to the propellers of Sun-powered plane Solar Impulse 2 HB-SIB seen in silhouette during its first exit for test on April 14, 2014 in Payerne, a year ahead of their planned round-the-world flight. Solar Impulse 2 is the successor of the original plane of the same name, which last year completed a trip across the United States without using a drop of fuel. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
This solar-powered aircraft will attempt to circle the globe next year.
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Most adults make the mistakes of hitting the snooze button and of checking emails first thing in the morning, writes Mel Robbins.
updated 1:14 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
... not in Italy. In fact, it's thousands of miles away.
updated 8:43 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Ebola victims usually come from remote areas -- but now the lethal virus is in a city of two million.
updated 9:40 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
ADVERTISEMENT