Narumi case: the moment of truth in April? This is undoubtedly the most anticipated trial of the year 2022 in Franche-Comté. Returned to the Doubs Assize Court for the assassination of Narumi Kurosaki, his ex-girlfriend, Nicolas Zepeda, will have to explain himself on the multiple pieces of evidence assembled against him. His word, rare, is eagerly awaited.
Coming to Besançon to learn French, Narumi has been missing since December 2016. Her body has never been found, but everything indicates that she was killed, explains the police. Extradited from Chile and then provisionally imprisoned for a year and a half, Nicolas Zepeda continues to proclaim his innocence. It is this speech that his lawyers and himself will bring before the jurors, from March 28 in Besançon, for the opening of an extraordinary trial in terms of logistics. Followed by the Japanese and Chilean media, the debates should last two weeks.
“Even under pressure, I remain calm and composed. I am not an impulsive or aggressive person. It is important for me to clarify things in front of the justice and I intend to do it”, he had declared a year ago, very confident, before the French justice, “the most important, c is to find Narumi and the person responsible for what may have happened, and you can count on me…”. Verdict in mid-April.
A French court on Tuesday sentenced a Chilean man to 28 years in jail for murdering his Japanese ex-girlfriend in 2016 in eastern France, after a high-profile investigation spanning three continents.
The jury at the court in Besancon convicted Nicolas Zepeda, 31, of murdering Narumi Kurosaki, then aged 21, in December 2016. Prosecutors had called for a life sentence.
Kurosaki, a brilliant scholarship student, arrived in the eastern city in the summer of 2016 to learn French. She disappeared on December 4.
Zepeda, with whom she had broken up a year before, was the last person to see her alive.
As the verdict was read out after four hours of jury deliberations, Zepeda remained motionless, looking dejected.
Sitting opposite, Narumi Kurosaki's mother Taeko Kurosaki watched him, her head tilted slightly to the side, handkerchief in hand and still holding the photo of her daughter she had clutched since the start of the trial late last month.
"It's a huge relief for the family," said Sylvie Galley, the lawyer for Kurosaki's family.
"They will leave today with a lot of pain and suffering... but also with the feeling that this pain was heard," she told reporters.
'Five years of suffering' Prosecutors alleged that Zepeda was unable to deal with the couple's breakup, coming to Besancon to kill Kurosaki in her student dorm room before dumping the body in the forests of the rugged Jura region.
The Chilean has admitted spending the night with Kurosaki in December, claiming he ran into her by chance while travelling through France.
But several witnesses reported hearing "screams of terror" and thuds "as if someone was striking someone else" -- though none called the police at the time.
But so far no trace has been found of Kurosaki's remains.
Nicolas Zepeda, a Chilean man accused of murdering his Japanese ex-girlfriend in France in 2016, goes on trial Tuesday in the eastern city of Besancon.
Here is a timeline of the affair, which gripped Japan, and involved years of legal wrangling with Chile.
2014: Meet in Japan
Zepeda, a teaching assistant and son of a wealthy Chilean family, meets Japanese student Narumi Kurosaki in Japan in 2014.
A year later they begin a relationship during which Kurosaki travels to Chile to meet Zepeda's family.
But it ends after she moves to France in August 2016 to study in Besancon.
2016: Kurosaki vanishes in France
Zepeda travels to Besancon to see Kurosaki, then 21, in December 2016.
She is last seen dining with him at a restaurant a short drive from Besancon on December 4.
In the early hours of the morning, fellow students in the dormitory heard cries and thuds coming from the area of her room but her disappearance is not reported for several days, by which time Zepeda has returned to Chile.
Zepeda, who had the previous September threatened Kurosaki in a video posted online, which he later removed, admits going to her room for what he described as consensual sex and says he left straight afterwards.
Kurosaki's body has never been found, despite extensive searches, including in the nearby forests.
Prosecutors say that in France, Kurosaki had entered a new relationship, a development which "clearly exasperated" Zepeda.
They believe Zepeda killed his ex in a jealous rage.
In the video he had given her an ultimatum of two weeks to bend to his, unspecified, conditions.
The investigation reveals that he stopped off at a supermarket on his way to Besancon to buy matches, flammable liquid and bleach.
Caso Narumi: Nicolás Zepeda apela a su sentencia por asesinato 6,311 views Apr 14, 2022 La defensa del chileno decidió apelar al juicio que lo condenó a 28 años de cárcel por el asesinato de su ex novia, Narumi Kurosaki.
Nicolás Zepeda was sentenced in France to 28 years in prison for the murder of his Japanese ex-girlfriend Narumi Kurosaki. The young Chilean denied having committed the crime throughout the trial, despite the evidence against him and the pressure from the prosecution and private accusations for him to confess.
The prosecution had requested a life sentence. Finally, the jury of the court of justice of Besanzón, in the east of France, has ruled 28 years of criminal imprisonment for Nicolás Zepeda, recognizing the Chilean as guilty of the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Narumi Kurosaki. A sentence that includes a "definitive ban" on entering French territory and carrying weapons, Judge Matthieu Husson said.
When the verdict of the nine-member jury was announced after four hours of deliberation, Zepeda, dressed in a blue shirt and dark tie, stood impassively in the dock, his face tired.
A jealous and possessive ex-boyfriend
Nicolás Zepeda and Narumi Kurosaki met in Japan in the fall of 2014 and a few months later they began a romantic relationship, marked by "breakups and reconciliations," according to the victim's mother, Taeko Kurosaki, during the trial.
At the end of August 2016, the Japanese moved to Besançon to study French, after having obtained a scholarship. Two months later, her relationship with Zepeda ended. A separation that Zepeda would have been unable to bear, according to the indictment. He spied on her through social networks and was especially jealous of the young Japanese girl's new boyfriend. In early December 2016, Zepeda decided to travel to France from Santiago de Chile.
According to the evidence provided by the prosecution, with video recordings, testimonies from Narumi Kurosaki's neighbors, thousands of phone messages and calls, Zepeda had planned the murder. The accusation indicates that he watched the residence of his ex-girlfriend for three days, to make a composition of what the place was like. In addition, he bought a can of gasoline, matches and a detergent.
On December 4, 2016, Nicolás Zepeda met up with Narumi Kurosaki and they went together to have dinner in a nearby town. After that, they returned to the university residence where the young woman was staying, where they spent nearly 30 hours together, until the Chilean left, at dawn on December 6 of the same year, leaving Narumi in perfect health, according to the defendant's version.
However, 11 students who occupied the rooms next to the young woman say they were woken up in the early hours of December 4 to 5 by women's high-pitched screams and beatings. However, no one notified the police.
According to the accusation, that night, the Chilean would have "asphyxiated" or "strangled" the young woman and then would have disposed of the body in a forest in the region or "had thrown her into the Doubs River", in the same area. The body was never found.
After that -the accusation maintains-, he would have hacked the social network accounts of his ex-girlfriend, sending messages to the young woman's relatives, making them believe that she was still alive and thus buying time before returning to Chile.
On Monday, Zepeda's defense, made up of lawyers Jacqueline Laffont and Julie Benedetti, urged the jury not to sentence their client "to the maximum penalty" and ruled out that the alleged crime was "premeditated." Claiming to be aware that this process has been "extremely painful", Laffont appealed to the jury to deliberate "leaving emotion aside".
On Tuesday morning, one of the lawyers for the civil party, Sylvie Galley, who represents the victim's family, lamented once again "the absence of confession and answers" by the Chilean, assuring that the family " I expected more."