A JUDGE has jailed Memphis murderer Richard Hinds for up to 10 years after he was caught out in a web of lies.
The evidence provided by musician Hinds (19) was branded "untrustworthy" and "irrational", as presiding Judge Masaharu Ashizawa and eight fellow judges found him guilty of the murder of Wexford student Nicola Furlong (21) in a Tokyo hotel room on May 24 last.
Deemed too young to face life imprisonment or the death penalty, the Tennessee teenager was handed down a sentence of five to 10 years.
Outside the Tokyo courtroom, Andrea Furlong, the 19-year-old sister of Nicola, said the family had been left "angry" and "hurt" by a sentence they deemed lenient.
"We had so much faith in the Japanese doing justice for us and I don't feel we got it, I am disgusted," she said.
"To think he can be released back on to the streets after five years – that is hard to deal with. We'll still be carrying this cloak of darkness and he'll be off living his life," said her mother, Angela, whose victim-impact statement provoked tears in at least two judges.
Hinds had offered a defence that Ms Furlong – who was brought in a wheelchair into his hotel room apparently unconscious two hours before her death – was to blame for the events as she awoke and demanded to be choked during "rough sex".
In handing down the verdict, Judge Ashizawa emphasised the victim was "not at fault in any way" for her death.
The judge described the crime as "atrocious" and said she had been "strangled with force for several minutes", which showed "intent". He pointed out no remorse had been shown by Hinds, who had "consistently dishonoured" the victim.
After the trial, her father, Andrew Furlong, said they hoped he would serve more than the minimum five years.
Hinds claimed before the court he had no intention of having sex with Ms Furlong when he brought her back in a comatose state to room 1427 in Tokyo's Keio Plaza Hotel.
Yet prosecution played taxi security footage to the court showing Hinds and his friend James Blackston (23) travelling to the hotel along with Ms Furlong and her friend, who were apparently unconscious.
Hinds was recorded making remarks about the sexual activities he had planned. "That is not what I meant when I made the statement or whoever made the statement," he told the court. It was also clear from parts of the recorded conversation that the men believed the women would not have consented to sex with them if they were conscious.
After being presented with quotes from the security camera recording, Hinds deadpanned to the court that he was not seeking sex. "We took them back to the hotel in general just so they can rest," he said.
His friend, Blackston, is now serving three years in jail after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a Brazilian woman and assaulting Ms Furlong's friend that night.
Hinds, who portrayed himself as a man with deeply held religious beliefs, has two weeks to appeal his sentence. It is understood Blackston is appealing his three-year sentence.