Chilean Man Appeals Murder Conviction in French Court

Chilean man Nicolas Zepeda has begun his appeal against his murder conviction in a French court. Zepeda was sentenced to 28 years in jail in April 2020 for the murder of his Japanese ex-girlfriend, Narumi Kurosaki, in December 2016. Kurosaki’s body was never found. Zepeda, speaking in court in Vesoul, insisted that he did not kill Kurosaki and contested the accusations against him. The appeal trial opened on the seventh anniversary of Kurosaki’s disappearance.

Zepeda, who has learned French while in prison, expressed his sympathy for Kurosaki’s family and described the situation as a “real nightmare.” The courtroom was filled with attendees, including the victim’s mother and two sisters. Zepeda’s lawyer was changed at the last moment, causing a delay in the appeal trial in February.

Sylvie Galley, representing Kurosaki’s family, stated that they attended the trial to honor Narumi’s memory and not with the expectation of a confession or revelation from Zepeda. Galley emphasized that the family had already mourned Narumi and maintaining hope would be destructive.

Zepeda’s father, Humberto Zepeda, expressed his desire to see his son exonerated at the end of the new trial. He argued that it is scientifically impossible to determine with certainty that Narumi is dead in the 21st century.

Renaud Portejoie, Zepeda’s lawyer, expressed hope that the new trial would bring about a different outcome. He mentioned the possibility of commissioning a new psychiatric examination and calling new witnesses.

Kurosaki, a scholarship student from Japan, had arrived in Besancon, France, in the summer of 2016 to learn French. She disappeared on December 4, and Zepeda, her ex-boyfriend, was the last person to see her alive. Witnesses reported hearing screams of terror, but no one contacted the police at the time. Strange messages were sent from Kurosaki’s social networking accounts in the following days, believed to be sent by Zepeda. He was extradited from Chile to France in 2020.

During the first trial, prosecutors argued that Zepeda was unable to cope with the couple’s breakup, leading him to travel to Besancon and kill Kurosaki in her student dorm room before disposing of her body in the Jura region. They presented evidence from witnesses, telephone records, and the geolocation of the car Zepeda had rented.

The appeal trial will continue, with Zepeda seeking to overturn his murder conviction.


Author: CrimeDoor

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