Tokyo High Court grants retrial for 1966 murder case

The Tokyo High Court has decided to grant a retrial to an 87-year-old man convicted in a 1966 murder case.

In 1980, the Supreme Court finalized a death sentence for Hakamada Iwao for killing four members of a family in Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan. He pleaded innocent and filed for a retrial.

In 2014, the Shizuoka District Court granted a retrial and released him after 48 years in detention. Prosecutors appealed the ruling.

The Tokyo High Court rejected a retrial in 2018, but the top court later canceled the high court's decision and ordered it to re-examine the case.

The point of contention in the high court was the color of blood stains on items of clothing that allegedly belonged to Hakamada. The clothes were found in a tank of fermented soybean paste, more than a year after his arrest.

The lawyers said the evidence was fabricated as the red color of the blood would have faded over time.

But the prosecutors countered that an experiment showed blood stains could retain some of their color.