Nicola Furlong: Suspects can be held for 23 days
THE AMERICAN suspects being held in connection with the death of Wexford student Nicola Furlong can be held for up to 23 days before formal charges are laid.
Dancer James Blackston from South Central Los Angeles and an unnamed 19-year-old musician, who was found with Nicola’s body in a 5-star Tokyo hotel, are being held on charges of indecently assaulting Nicola’s friend.
They have already been in police custody for twelve days and can be held for up to eleven days more as police investigate the sexual assault and murder of Nicola (21). The initial detention period of 72 hours can be extended by two ten day periods.
The DCU student was on a year’s exchange programme when she was murdered after a Nicki Minaj concert twelve days ago.
She was found strangled in a Tokyo hotel room.
Under Japanese law the suspects are held at a police station or daiyo kangoku, a substitute prison.
The police are renowned for their intensive interrogations designed to get a confession and take considerable time accumulating enough evidence to bring charges.
The standard of evidence for laying formal charges is extremely high and it is common for suspects to be held for considerable periods while police build a case.
Japan has a conviction rate of 99.8pc and prosecutors are reluctant to take on cases unless they believe they can win them.
It is understood that the Furlong family has not been informed of what is happening in relation to the case.
Meanwhile, The Japan Times reports today that Blackston danced on stage with the Japanese hip-hop star AI who was born in LA, but raised both there and in Kagoshima, Japan.
AI has performed with top US acts including Snoop Doggy Dog, Chaka Khan and the Jacksons and her hit single ‘Story’ has logged 3.5m downloads.
It is understood that Blackston (23) who goes by the stage name King Tight or KT, was touring Japan as part of AI’s Independent Tour 2012.
He performed with her at the Koriyama Fukushima Prefecture the day before he allegedly met Nicola (21) and her friend who had travelled from their university at Takasaki , about 100km from Tokyo.
And he gave a special King Tight workshop for children at a dance school at Sendai where he taught the moves to AI’s songs.
Neither Blackston or the other man detained by Japanese police, have been charged with the rape or murder of Nicola Furlong.
Nicola, who was buried at her native Curracloe, Co Wexford, on Sunday was studying business and languages at DCU before going to Japan as part of an exchange programme. She was due home next month.
It is alleged that she and her friend were plied with alcohol or may have had their drinks spiked after the concert. A toxicology report is due this week.