Father of Accused Killer: Calling Police Would Be ‘Betrayal’; Parents of Runa Tamura are Accused of Abetting Murder, Body Disposal

Illustration and composition by Moe Furuta
A sketch showing Osamu Tamura, center, testifying in front of his wife Hiroko, right.

SAPPORO — The father of a 30-year-old woman charged with killing and beheading a man in Sapporo last July apologized Monday in court, saying that they have done something that could never be undone. However, the 60-year-old psychiatrist denied that he had heard anything about his daughter’s motive.

Osamu Tamura, who has been charged with abetting murder, appeared in Sapporo District Court as a witness in the second trial of his wife Hiroko, 61, who has been charged with abetting the destruction and abandonment of a corpse in connection with the discovery of the decapitated body at a hotel in Sapporo’s Susukino district.

Their daughter, Runa, is suspected of fatally stabbing a 62-year-old man and destroying the victim’s head.

‘I am so sorry’

Osamu, accompanied by a prison guard, entered Courtroom 805 at 3:30 p.m. on Monday.

He saw his wife sitting next to her defense counsel for the first time since his arrest in July last year. The two did not make eye contact and were not able to speak to each other.

Hiroko was released on bail after her first trial on June 4 but has been prohibited from communicating with Osamu and Runa to prevent them from coordinating their defenses. Hiroko kept wiping away tears with a handkerchief while watching her husband, who sat straight-backed in front of the witness stand.

Monday marked a year since the victim was murdered. Before conducting the witness examination, the prosecutor read aloud a recorded statement by the bereaved family.

“He was a good husband and father,” the victim’s wife said. “Why did he have to be killed?” She then explained a conversation she had when the Hokkaido prefectural police asked her to identify the body.

“I said, ‘I’ll know when I see his face,’ but the detective said, ‘He has no head,’” she explained.

Asked by the defense counsel at the beginning of the interrogation about how he was feeling toward the bereaved family, Osamu was silent for about five seconds before saying, “Words cannot express what I feel. We did something that can never be undone. I am so sorry.”

‘Runa is dead’

According to Osamu’s testimony, Runa had repeatedly attempted suicide since she was 18 or 19 and began calling herself “Cynthia” among other names, saying “Runa is dead.”

As a psychiatrist, Osamu said, he had made the decision “not to deny her delusions.” He said he tried anything to fulfill her wishes in hopes of stabilizing her mental health but had “refused to do anything that might endanger her life or cause trouble for others.”

On the other hand, Osamu admitted that he himself took Runa to and from the hotel where the incident took place and was aware of the possibility that she had committed a murder on July 2-3.

Asked by the defense counsel why he did not confirm the truth with Runa, Osamu replied: “It was such terrible thing that I was speechless. At the same time, to ‘Cynthia,’ we were strangers. I did not think our questions would reach her.”

Osamu said he did not call the police because “I felt like I would be betraying my daughter by turning her in to the police myself.”

The next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 30. Osamu is scheduled to continue his witness testimony.