Guam killer gets life for Japanese tourist attack

Guam killer gets life for Japanese tourist attack

HAGATNA, Guam - A Guam man who killed three Japanese tourists and wounded 11 more during a frenzied knife attack on the Pacific island was jailed for three life terms on Thursday.

Superior Court judge Anita Sukola said that Chad Ryan De Soto had shown no remorse over the brutal attack in February last year and would spend the rest of his life in jail without the prospect of parole.

"In your own statement to the court your remorsefulness did not come out, you were more concentrating about mental illness," Sukola told the court.

She said De Soto, who was convicted last month after a jury rejected his insanity plea, was likely to commit more crimes unless he was incarcerated.

The 22-year old ploughed his car into a group of people who were enjoying an evening stroll in the tourist district of Tumon, and then leapt from the vehicle and attacked bystanders at random with a knife in each hand.

All of the victims were Japanese, including an eight-month-old baby and three-year-old toddler, who both survived.

The toddler's mother Rie Sugiyama, 29, died as she desperately tried to shield her daughter from the knifeman. Another relative, 81-year-old Kazuko Uehara, was also killed. They had been in Guam for a family wedding.

Hitoshi Yokota, 51, died from injuries sustained when De Soto's car crashed into him.

Sugiyama's father Masao Uehara addressed the court during the sentencing hearing, recounting how "heaven turned to hell in one day".

Uehara, who was one of a number of relatives who signed a letter to the judge asking for the maximum penalty, told the court De Soto would have faced the death penalty had the crimes occurred in Japan.

Sugiyama's mother, Miho Uehara Tamara, said: "My family will never forgive the defendant." De Soto's father, Christopher, also addressed the sentencing hearing, saying he felt he had failed his son.

"He was trying hard to remain faithful to God but he lost his battle," he said.

De Soto broke down sobbing in the dock when his father said he still loved him.

De Soto had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to three counts of murder and 11 of attempted murder, but a jury convicted him after a seven-week trial that included two weeks of deliberations involving more than 100 witnesses.

The deadly incident shocked Guam, a nation of about 180,000 people and known as an idyllic tropical destination.

Tourism is a key industry for the US territory and Japanese make up about 80 per cent of visitors.

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