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 5:45 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
updated 9:43 PM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
updated 4:48 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
updated 3:27 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
updated 9:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
updated 7:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
updated 6:44 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
updated 5:26 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
updated 5:54 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
updated 9:31 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT