They asked for a life sentence for the Chilean accused of killing his Japanese ex-girlfriend in France

Nicolás Zepeda in the Besancon court where he is accused of murdering his Japanese ex-girlfriend in France in 2016 (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP) (PATRICK HERTZOG/)

The French prosecutor’s office requested a life sentence against the Chilean Nicolas Zepeda for the premeditated murder of his Japanese ex-girlfriend Narumi Kurosaki in 2016 in France, a drama about which the defense proposed this Wednesday an alternative scenario of accidental homicide.

What if Narumi died from a blow to the head against a radiator during a fight? Defense lawyer Renaud Portejoie asked the court made up of three magistrates and nine popular jurors, before a packed room at the Vesoul Courthouse (east).

“That changes? It changes that you absolve him [de asesinato]! He would be guilty of deliberate violence resulting in death without the intention of causing it,” Portejoie assured, a scenario that if the court retains him would imply a lesser penalty.

In the first instance, Zepeda, who denies the facts, was sentenced in 2022 to 28 years in prison for the premeditated murder of Narumi, whose body never appeared. The defendant appealed the conviction and now faces life imprisonment again on appeal.

Kurosaki disappeared on December 4, 2016 in Besançon (eastern France), where she was studying for an exchange year, and, according to the accusation, the Chilean would have killed her in the early hours of the 5th in the university residence before disposing of the body.

“Nicolás Zepeda suffocated or strangled her,” said prosecutor Étienne Manteaux. For the public ministry, The “woman’s screams” that were heard at dawn are the “central evidence” that he died.

Nicolas Zepeda - Narumi Kurosaki - Murder - France - Chile
Lawyer Sylvie Galley holds some photos of Narumi Kurosaki in a court in eastern France (Photo by Sebastien Bozon / AFP) (SEBASTIEN BOZON/)

Due to these events, the prosecutor requested a life sentence for murder and also considered that there were aggravating circumstances of premeditation or violence by a former partner. “It is a feminicide in all the sense that society currently gives it,” he stressed.

The prosecutor presented the accused as a “hurt man” and “jealous”, who would not have accepted that his ex-partner went to study in France, escaping his “control”, broke up with him weeks later and started a new relationship with Arthur. of the Piccolo.

Wandering soul

The last day of the trial, before the court retires to deliberate on Thursday after the defendant’s last word, was marked by the arguments and the crying of Narumi Kurosaki’s inconsolable mother, which forced the hearing to be suspended for half an hour.

The family of the Japanese woman, whose body “will never be found,” is immersed in “impossible grief,” her lawyer, Sylvie Galley, told the court. Her mother “imagines her daughter’s soul wandering in the forest”he explained.

For the prosecution, Zepeda disposed of his ex-girlfriend’s body in a wooded area located about 50 kilometers from Besançon, burning it with the fuel canister and matches that he bought days before or throwing it into the Doubs River.

Lawyer Sylvie Galley walks to the court with Narumi Kurosaki's family (REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol)
Lawyer Sylvie Galley walks to the court with Narumi Kurosaki’s family (REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol) (PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/)

But the search efforts, with aerial, ground and divers means, did not allow him to be located. The other defense lawyer Sylvain Cormier thus questioned whether the prosecution granted his client “superhuman qualities” to move a body through a forest.

“This case became a state matter,” stated the former lawyer of soccer player Karim Benzema, suggesting that the prosecution is determined to accuse Zepeda due to the important means deployed to carry out an investigation that he believes is incomplete.

But among the “overwhelming evidence” for Manteaux is the connection to Kurosaki’s electronic messaging and social network accounts from Spain, Switzerland and Chile, coinciding with the Chilean’s presence in these countries days after the disappearance.

For the accusation, Zepeda took possession of his ex-girlfriend’s cell phone and posed as her to send messages through her messaging accounts and social networks to those close to her, thus delaying the start of the search until her return to Chile on the 13th. from December.

The verdict is expected Thursday.