The murder trial of American musician Richard Hinds continued today in Tokyo. Hinds is accused of strangling Irish exchange student Nicola Furlong following a Nicki Minaj concert last spring. Nicola and her friend met up with Hinds and dancer James Blackston following the concert and met up with them for drinks in the entertainment district of Tokyo. At the bar the girls began to fall into unconsciousness and the two men took them to their hotel room. Nicola and her friend were wheeled into two separate hotel rooms in wheelchairs. Nicola with Hinds and her friend with Blackston. Police alleged that Hinds strangled Nicola and she was found dead in his room after someone in a neighboring room reported a disturbance. The medical examiner has ruled the cause of death as strangulation and has ruled out date rape drugs as a factor. The other student who was in Blackston’s room was allegedly sexually assaulted in the cab ride which was recorded by the taxi’s camera. Blackston has a separate charge and has not yet gone to trial. Click through for today’s events.
“It was very important to get all my points across today and I did,” said Angela (Nicola’s sister) . “I did ask the question, ‘Why? Why my Nicola? Why did she have to die? Why did he choose her? And we did ask that question. Unfortunately, we did not get a clear answer but we got the opportunity to ask that question.
Andrea recalled how she told the three judges and six jurors about her relationship with Nicola – that they were sisters and best friends.
The 19-year-old added, “I explained my hatred for the accused. I really feel like I got my point across there because I’m feeling it. That’s the way I’m feeling and I’m not going to try hide it.”
According to reports, two of the jurors and one judge cried during the statements.
Hinds was cross-examined during today’s proceedings, stating he had no explanation for the victim’s death but admitting to putting both of his hands around her neck on the night in question. He had previously told the court he had put only one hand on her throat but blamed a translation error for the discrepancies in his testimony.
Footage from the taxi that took Furlong, her friend (known as Victim A), Hinds and his friend James Blackston to the Keio Plaza hotel that night was also shown in court.
Hinds has denied murder. A verdict is expected on 19 March.
Hinds who was very active in his Memphis, Tennessee church choir is supported in the courtroom by his family and an ex-girlfriend. Throughout this tragedy, his supporters have adamantly denied that he is capable of such a horrific crime. Nicola’s supporters are equally adamant in asking for the death penalty in this senseless case.