Family of Nicola's killer still believe death was accident
The family of American killer Richard Hinds still believe Nicola Furlong's murder in a Tokyo hotel room was more of an accident and do not believe their son intended to end her life.
Hinds's father and mother spoke briefly yesterday at their Memphis church about their son and the slaying of Wexford-born Nicola Furlong.
They said there were grateful that their son was sentenced to between five and 10 years with labour in Tokyo prison, noting that he could have faced life in prison or the death penalty if he wasn't a minor under Japanese law.
"It's equivalent of going to college (for) four years," Hinds's father told the congregation at Olivet Fellowship Baptist Church as he fought back tears.
"It's the equivalent of being in the military four years.
"It's the equivalent of going off and making yourself better for four years... So that's all we told (Richard)."
Hinds's father also said his son's lawyers in the Tokyo trial were "the best we could buy".
Microphone in hand, Hinds's father told several hundred worshippers about the moment he learnt his son was accused of murder.
"I love my children," he said.
"I love the Lord, and the Lord knows I love Richard. And when I got the call that Richard was in trouble, I couldn't do nothing but turn to the one that can help me the most."
Difficult days followed, he said. "After I heard about that incident, I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't do nothing," he said.
But Hinds's parents appeared in good spirits sharing Bible verses and thanking attendees for their support.
A spokesman for the Hinds family said they were doing well considering the circumstances, saying their faith had given them a "positive outlook".
"When you deal with the African-American church, God supersedes all," he said.
Hinds's parents believe their son did not attack Furlong as Japanese prosecutors alleged, according to the spokesman.
"They don't believe Richard intended to end the life of Ms Furlong," he added.