A Japanese court sentenced a 52-year-old man to death on Friday for killing three men in western Japan between 2010 and 2011, though two of the three bodies have yet to be located.
The Himeji branch of the Kobe District Court ruled that Takashi Uemura colluded with another man to fatally shoot a corporate executive, 50, strangle to death a former yakuza gang member, 37, and abduct a 57-year-old man who later died.
Lawyers for Uemura had argued he was only criminally liable for the confinement and immediately appealed the ruling.
"They were cruel crimes based on a strong intention to kill," Presiding Judge Miyako Fujiwara said in handing down the ruling that was in line with prosecutors' demand.
Fujiwara said Uemura committed the crimes in return for payments from his South Korean accomplice, Chin Chun Gun. "Uemura has made irrational excuses over and over again and failed to express remorse," the judge added.
Chin, 48, was given a life sentence by the court in November. He was acquitted of murdering the company executive because the cause of death could not be determined as the body has not been located. Both Chin and the prosecutors have appealed the ruling.
Friday's ruling acknowledged that Uemura shot the executive and burned the body. The body of the 57-year-old man has also not been found.