Unmarried schoolteacher Keiko Adachi killed her husband and hired the hit man to do the same in 2001 — but it was a third witness, Kanae Aoki, who finally helped convict the woman.
Aoki and her daughter helped exonerate journalist Katsumi Inoue and investigator Masashi Karasawa — the men who arrested, interrogated and jailed Adachi — in 2004. The report, conducted by a panel of former judges and prosecutors, cleared both men of the criminal charges.
Aoki then began to support a civil suit against Adachi, which may become a separate case because it relates to a murder that had already occurred, Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported.
The court sentenced Adachi to 12 years for the conviction, but the sentence was suspended because she already spent 10 years in jail.
“It’s only a little bit of justice,” Aoki told reporters outside the courthouse. “Her legal conviction will be upgraded … but the full justice is what I really want, and that’s what I will continue to fight for.”
Adachi had been called to testify before the commission overseeing the reopened case in 2012, but she refused. That year, prosecutors had indicted her and five other women, including her ex-husband, on various charges. One of the women, Madoka Setagaya, killed her husband in 2009.
Aoki could not be reached for comment, but in the past has said she wants Adachi to be punished for a crime she says she did not commit.
In the early 2000s, Adachi, 47, reported Setagaya for domestic violence in 1995, the jury said in a statement.
Her husband had tried to make her commit suicide, the statement said. She had escaped their marriage twice before in the previous few years.
She hired Hitoshi Nishino to kill Setagaya in 1995 but didn’t mean for him to do it. He soon became her “hero” after escaping the arranged marriage, Aoki told investigators.
Nishino had planned to escape and kill the two women, but he had not collected his knife and was too scared to carry out the murder after his arrest, Aoki told investigators.
Adachi said she was not an accomplice. She had no idea she was purchasing a gun from Nishino.
Nishino was sentenced to 18 years in prison for the murder. Adachi and three others were acquitted of the charges.
Aoki’s civil suit said Adachi forced the police to arrest her husband, arrested the two witnesses and forced them to testify falsely against her.
There is no indication that any of the witnesses have pursued damages, but lawyer Yoko Todani said they should — “just because she is a celebrity and they did not succeed.”