Tokyo Court Hands Down Verdict in Richard Hinds Trial

Minor Update on Nicola Furlong Case

Nicola Furlong

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while will recall that in May of last year I began to cover a trial of two American men jailed in Tokyo after the death of a young Irish exchange student. Initially, I became interested in the trial because there were rumors that the two young men were part of Nicki Minaj’s Japanese tour. One was a musician, and the other a dancer. It turned out that the two men were on tour with Ai. The four met following a Nicki Minaj concert and tragically, Nicola ended up dead.  Over the months that followed I became interested in the case. This blog was relatively new at the time, and I was surprised at the sudden rise in viewers from both Ireland and Japan. There was very little coverage of this story in the United States. In previous articles, a number of comments began to appear from friends and family of the two Americans involved. Richard Hinds, who was accused of murder at the time. had many supporters. He was very active in the Memphis music scene and in his church. Former girlfriends and musical mentors commented that Rich, as they refer to him was innocent and that it was not in his nature to commit the heinous acts he was accused of. Fundraisers were set up for Richard and family and friends held frequent prayer vigils. Their comments were heartbreaking. Several Irish journalists began contacting Tamaratattles hoping to contact those commenting on behalf of Richard Hinds. We were practically the only stateside coverage of the trial at that time.

James Blackston

James Blackston

At the same time, friends of the two young women from Ireland began to comment.  One had been murdered and another sexually assaulted. They were grief-stricken and angry with the supporters of the two men who had committed crimes on their loved ones. Both groups were clashing angrily in comments. The friends of Nicola and the other young lady left equally heartbreaking comments. They too held fundraisers and prayer vigils to help the families attend the trial in Japan.Recently, James Blackson was convicted in the sexual molestation of the second young woman and also on an unrelated charge of sexually assaulting a young woman from Brazil. He received three years in a Japanese prison with labor.

Today, According to Irish News Media, RTE, “Richard Hinds has been found guilty of the murder of Irish student Nicola Furlong in Tokyo last May. He was given a sentence of a minimum of five years and a maximum of ten years with labour. Chief judge Masaharu Ashizawa said this was the maximum sentence possible because Hinds was a minor under Japanese law. He said Hinds’ testimony was “not credible” and had “tainted the honour of his victim.” Judge Ashizawa said the court concluded he had strangled Ms Furlong using either a towel or a tank top, both of which had traces of her DNA. He said the attack was “atrocious and vicious in nature”.

Richard Hinds

Richard Hinds

Those present in the courtroom throughout the trial have been angered by Hinds demeanor and testimony. The Furlong family is frustrated that 19-year-old Hinds is considered a minor in the Japanese court system and could be sentenced to no more than 10 years (Though it was previously reported he would be tried as an adult that did not happen).  Nicola’s sister was particularly outraged as she wanted Hinds tried as an adult and therefore eligible for the death penalty. The family is very disappointed with the sentencing. The judge stated in his ruling that Hinds failed to show any remorse as he handed down the maximum sentence according to Japanese law.This story has been one of the most heart wrenching and unsettling topics I have covered here. As someone who frequently travels alone, and has felt quite comfortable drinking in bars and making new friends, it was a prudent reminder that we all need to be extremely careful to ensure that on our travels we take steps to be sure to protect ourselves in unfamiliar environments. Tamaratattles extends deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the two young women whose one-year exchange program came to such a tragic end.

If you are interested in previous articles on this case, click this link for a listing.

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47 Comments

Filed under James Blackston, Nicola Furlong, Richard Hinds

47 responses to “Tokyo Court Hands Down Verdict in Richard Hinds Trial

  1. Jenny Curran

    Thank you for not adding insult to injury. Jenny, Ireland.

  2. pclph2

    Prayers for all of the family and friends affected by this tragedy :(

  3. Mike Fagan

    So the “In Rich We Believe” slogan, shamelessly adopted by Hinds’ deluded family and supporters, has been predictably proven to be as hollow and as false as Hinds himself. Scum like Hinds, and his equally evil buddy Blackston, don’t become sexual predators (and in the case of Hinds, a murderer) overnight – in Hinds case it was the culmination of 19 years of lack of responsible parenting, lack of basic respect for others (and himself), denial of responsibility for his own actions, or in other words, do whatever you want and blame everyone else for the consequences: “Hey, Rich baby, just deny, deny, deny and if that don’t work, honey, then just lie, lie, lie”. It’s time for Hinds’ family and supporters to collectively look in the mirror and man up to long overdue Tough Love; explain in words of one syllable to the delusional “Rich” exactly the kind of nasty, evil pervert he has become and that if he continues on like they’ve trained him so far, living a deviant life of denial and lies, he’s ultimately going to end up on Death Row. Maybe it’s already too late for Hinds, but if his family and supporters love him, like they claim they do, it’s a lot more tough love of reality, accountability and responsibility that’s needed and a lot less denial, deceit and delusion. Maybe the lot of them should start wearing beaded bracelets with the words “In Rich We Don’t Yet Believe” to kickstart the young murderer and pervert into actually becoming the kind of decent, responsible Christian he’s so far falsely claimed to be?

    • Miele

      While I’m always taken a bit aback by the vehemence with which people claim that their loved one “would NEVER do such a thing”, unless you are an intimate friend of the Hinds family your characteriization of their raising of their son is pure, spiteful conjecture. No one is ever proud to have raised a murderer; to state that his family essentially grroomed him to become one is uncalled for.

      I do, however, agree with the idea that Mr. Hinds’ family and supporters need to have a plan of action for getting him whatever kind of help (psychiatric, spritual, etc) he needs once he’s released (hopefully after serving the maximum allowed). A 29 year-old who committed such a brutal murder does not need to come home to “Welcome Home” gatherings and the like. I truly hope they do the right thing in that regard.

      My heart aches for the victim’s families and friends. I hope the other young lady gets all of the counseling and support she needs. My thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones affected by these crimes.

  4. Tamara

    My thoughts go out to the victims family and friends.

    • Tim

      10 years is a joke.Richard Hinds may be good looking,a good musician and be nice to his elders,but he is also a sick rapist,murderer. Anybody who tries to defend him is either stupid or misguided.He deserved life in prison.My heart goes out to her famiy and friends.May she rest in peace.

  5. Tim

    10 years is a joke.Richard Hinds may be good looking,a good musician and be nice to his elders,but he is also a sick rapist,murderer. Anybody who tries to defend him is either stupid or misguided.He deserved life in prison.My heart goes out to her famiy and friends.May she rest in peace.

  6. Seriously...

    Kudos to you Tamara for reminding us that behind all the sensational stuff, real families are suffering. Prayers for those affected by this tragedy.

  7. Alfex

    My heart goes out to both families involved, but i do think someone should point out that for 2 young women to be out late and getting drunk in a foreign country is not the best of ideas! Having done exchange programs and lived abroad its always important to be safe, vigilant and not quite so trust worthy of strangers.

    • Jaded

      I am sure it’s not your intent, but you have placed blame on the victims. You really have no insight about the care and vigilance that these women exercised, and regardless the accountability lies 100% with the perpetrators.

  8. Patricia

    Off topic but no where else to put this. I was just wondering what happened to the case out of Aruba. The guy that had Jose Baze as his attorney? She drowned or something and he had a travel or vacation insurance policy on her. Anyone remember anything along those lines?

  9. stacey

    I was doing the same programme as Nicola in a foreign country (Spain), at the same time and this news really hit me hard as I was miles away from everyone I knew too. About 300 Irish citizens in university do it to encourage international relations. I went out, had a good time, had a few drinks, got drunk, socialized, met lovely locals and other nationalities, as its part of the experience and encouraged. They went out in a pair, met who they thought were a nice pair of lads, they could not have foreseen what would happen to both of them, its also not proven that it was even the lads that spiked them but they ultimately took advantage of the situation. Yes, You can never be too careful, as I’m sure they were, but that doesn’t excuse the blokes. That’s like saying the victim provoked them to do it for being friendly or open or too trusting. Maybe theyre easy qualities to take advantage of but it could have been anyone vulnerable enough that night I guess. I don’t mean to offend you by the way! Just defending a girls honor and right to do what she is entitled to without judgement or pointing faults! This story just really got to me when I was away myself.
    Rest in peace Nicola.
    ~Do not resent growing old. Many are denied the privilege~

  10. Journalist

    5 years he will be out. the verdict is 5~10 years. It is all up to his behavior in prison, and by the way, he will be going to juvenile prison, not Fuchu Prison as reported by some. He got the verdict as a minor, thus he serves in minor prison, although he will turn 20 next month. And he was credited with the max 120 days…thus his sentence can read 4 years and 9 months starting few days ago. He will be out at 24 years old, not 29. And to clarify, there are hundreds of minors who received a ‘life in prison’ sentences in Japan. It is very very possible, happens all the time, but in the Hinds case, the defense managed to play a lot of defense. It is very clear that the prosecution messed this up for the furlongs. They were not ready for the defense. Sorry to see the furlongs not get justice, but good to see the US style defense come into play in Japan’s jury system. It showed all the flaws of the Japan judicial system. Im sure lots of things will change in the future because of this verdict of 5 years min or 4 yrs 9 months.

  11. Innocent and pure white woman was abducted by brutal rapists black dudes?
    ..NO.
    she got picked up by blacks,she had enjoy with blacks and she got drunk.
    she did this at will and were not forced.
    I wonder why she followed “gangsters”.
    …strange…why?..
    …I remember her classmate’s testimony in last year on Japanese Tv,
    she is a free-spirited tomboy and always plays around Tokyo.
    umm….In my opinion,I think,white woman and Black man had enjoyed consensual sex.(in the fact,black man claimed this.)
    maybe..This is an unfortunate accident.
    sorry,I don’t mean to insult dead woman.
    It was no wonder that she had a one-night stand with Black man.
    umm..she is a victim?
    Black dude is assailant?
    ..really?…I feel it is dangerous just to look at one side of things.

    God only knows.
    RIP

    • drumstixx

      Are you serious?race had nothing to do with this. The two men were caught on video on the taxi footage talking about taking the unconscience girls home and having sex with them. Blackstone was caught on video molesting Nicolas friend while she was passed out unconscious. When they get at the hotel the unconscience girls were put in wheelchairs and taken to the boys individual rooms. Anyone who would take advantage of someone in that state no matter what race is a predator and deserves to be punished. Frankly give to ten years is not enough.

      • Journalist

        “In order to get the girls up to their rooms, the young men used wheelchairs to get them inside and across the lobby. It was reported that hotel staff helped Hinds put Furlong into the wheelchair.” The hotel staff put them into the wheelchair and laid Nicola on the bed in Hinds room. As I stated 7 months ago….and this is why the Furlongs will have a strong case against KEIO plaza. And I believe if the Furlongs understood Japan better…the lawsuit against will be settled months later, but the biggest civil action and media they can receive is IF THEY FILED A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE PRODUCTION COMPANY OF the singer AI. That is who hired Blackston and Hinds and paid them for their service..they are also the ones who paid the bill at KEIO plaza…..look if Sony’s workers did this to someone…do you think this would be a big deal in Japan? YES IT WOULD BE.. With Ai’s name attached to this situation and the fact is this was a million dollar profiting tour “independent tour’ while two of their hired workers sexually assaulted and killed somebody….dont you think it would be wise to file a lawsuit agains KEIO PLAZA, TAXI COMPANY AND GET ALL THE MEDIA ATTENTION FROM AI? Yes, the answer is the Yes……and this is from the source of all source. Can someone push the Furlongs to do this?

      • why are you so invested in this case? just curious.

    • pat, ireland

      Disgraceful post by Kotara who clearly has not read the evidence but also disgraceful for it be allowed to post it here, clearly very little moderation here.

    • Your assertion that this poor girl “enjoyed” any part of this, or had a “one-night stand” is nauseating. Your opinions are a serious reflection on you personally, and prove that you have a total lack of simple humanity. This poor girl was deliberately MADE unconscious by two evil perverts whose vile intent was revealed in court. She didn’t follow gangsters – they preyed on her like the jackals they are. Your “opinions” are totally refuted by the evidence given. Frankly, you are not a great deal better than they are and you are deserving of utter contempt for the opinions you have and for expressing them here.

  12. June Roche

    A young girl is dead <<<<< DEAD <<< Gone from her mother, father, sisters & family & friends forever….. He murdered her, he didn't love her or just have sex with her, he MUDERED HER……. He is in the best place to think on what he has done, miles away from family & friends, who would want to be his friend .. ? you cannot shake family off, they are for life.. Something HE TOOK AWAY … lets not forget his life will go on,,, he will live his life….. she won't. it could have been you .. ! someone you knew .. a realation, friend, YOU SISTER… … rip and many blessings to all families..

    • MH

      Please do not speak on emotions without consideration on another persons life. If this were your family member on this side, you’d definitely see things differently! You don’t know him or realize that accidents can happen! Truth is that race plays a huge card in society’s reaction. Denial sucks and will only hold off progression. Accidents happen! Nobody was saying “Hang the N*****” when four black teens were killed in Chicago over a course of a month. Lets be real here. He’s got 5-10 and will be back doing what he loved afterwards. It was an accident and God has it all in his hands! Keep your mouths closed and speak within reason.

  13. Delroy Wilson

    Based on what was reported in Irish, U.K. and U.S. newspapers, I don’t believe all reasonable doubts as to Hinds’ guilt were eliminated, given what was reported. There are simply too man unanswered questions. For example:
    1. Confronted with the fact that blood was found on the bed, Hinds reportedly said Furlong had vomited blood. There was no information on whether in fact vomit was found on the bed, nor on whether vomit was found in Furlong’s throat, mouth, etc. If the autopsying physician didn’t even look for vomit, we have a problem. Xanax and alcohol were found in Furlong’s blood, a combination known to have caused death by choking on vomit in numerous cases, including rather famously, Whitney Huston. Vomit choking would also explain the evidence the pathologist hired by the defense said pointed toward strangling: blood in Furlongs face, broken blood vessels in her eyes, broken blood vessels in her lungs.
    Certainly, it could be that vomit was found, but in too small quantities or in the wrong places to have played a part in a choking death. But without such information even being discussed, I think it’s reasonable to doubt that the autopsy was thorough and that the pathologists were considering all angles.
    2. The prosecution cited evidence showing Hinds didn’t have sex with Furlong. This of course goes against Hinds claim that he did, undermining his credibility, but also undermines the prosecution’s case in two ways: A. It goes against the prosecution story that Hinds strangled Furlong because she woke up while he was raping her and he wanted to keep her quiet. B. It goes against the depiction of Hinds as a predator. He was in the room with her for more than a couple of hours and she was very, very drunk. If he didn’t have take advantage of that and force sex, he’s clearly not the attack animal he’s been portrayed as by the prosecution.
    Most likely, the answer to that mystery is simple: the press got it wrong. I am guessing that the prosecution actually just admitted that there was no ejaculate or DNA found inside Furlong. I am also guessing that that does NOT mean they didn’t have sex. They could have had sex, but Hinds didn’t ejaculate. But if that’s the case, we should find out about it from the testimony, given the need to erase all reasonable doubts.
    3. What was in Hinds’ and Blackstons’ blood? Were these guys both also heavily drinking, or were they sober as surgeons? Maybe they had MDMA in their blood. Who knows? But we should definitely find out and if the prosecutors didn’t even bother to check their blood, that is yet another sign of an incomplete investigation and/or a perception on the part of the prosecutor that it would not be necessary to eliminate reasonable doubts in order to get a conviction, under the circumstances.
    4. How did the women get into the taxi? Furlong reportedly passed out in the women’s room of the bar. Did the men go into the restroom and drag Furlong out of it and into a cab? Or did Furlong revive herself and enter the cab under her own control? If Furlong willingly got into the cab, it supports Hinds story that she wanted sex. (It doesn’t confirm his story, it merely supports it more than if the fact is that Hinds and Blackston carried the two passed out women out of the bar). What did the cab driver say? What did patrons at the bar say, if any were interviewed? I would want to know all that before I could be confident in making a judgment that all reasonable doubt had been eliminated.
    5. How credible is the testimony of the pathologist hired by the defense? She did not examine the body. Rather, she worked from photos and a report written by the prosecution. I can imagine that a pathologist can always give a professional opinion, but how confident was she in her assessment? Is it really that easy to tell? Was the entire autopsy report translated from Japanese into English, or was what the pathologist read only excerpts?
    It is even more important to demonstrate the pathologists credibility because of what she actually did in the trial, which is provide the best testimony for the prosecution.
    The pathologist said Furlong was strangled and drugs/alcohol was not the cause of her death. Why would the defense pay for someone to say that in court? Wouldn’t they simply decline to offer any expert testimony in defense? Backing up the prosecution theory and directly undermining the defense theory (Furlong died from alcohol and Xanax) seems like a very, very strange thing for the defense to pay to have done for them.
    There are other points of confusion, mystery and doubt but I’d guess few readers have even got this far, so I won’t go into them.
    I will say, however, that the press coverage was hugely biased against the defendant. Some crucial points of the prosecution’s cases were trumpeted in these reports as fact, only to be shown false later: first and foremost among these, the allegation that Furlong was given a date rape drug. Her blood had no such drugs: only the alcohol and Xanax she took knowingly.
    Why did the prosecution allege date rape drugs when it knew all along from the blood work that this was simply not the case? Yet another reason to have reasonable doubts about how this trial was decided.

    • drumstixx

      How the girls got in the taxi. Witness statement that the men carried the girls to the car.

      “Statements from employees at the Scramble Café & Bar said Ms Furlong fell unconscious about an hour after arriving with Mr Hinds and his friend, James Blackston.
      The court watched CCTV footage recording the two Americans bundling the unconscious women into a taxi on the way to their hotel, then discussing having sex with them.”

      Video Evidence

      “Security camera footage presented as evidence showed Blackston sexually assaulting Ms Furlong’s friend in a taxi on the way to the hotel, where the men borrowed wheelchairs to get the unconscious women to the rooms.”

      Nicola’s friends statement

      “I find it very difficult to believe I was unconscious for so long” solely as a result of alcohol, she said, after describing how she had lost consciousness for several hours after drinking with the men. “I can only think it’s because something was put in the drink.”

      Date rape drugs

      “It’s difficult to know how often “date-rape drugs” are employed. That’s partly because substances such as Rohypnol (“roofies,” which produce a sedative effect 10 times that of Valium), or gamma hydroxybutrate (“GHB” or “Liquid X,” which was originally marketed in the US as a bodybuilding enhancer, then banned in the ’90s after it was found to be used inappropriately to cause blackouts and loss of consciousness) are rapidly metabolized, pass quickly through the bloodstream, wreak havoc, and then leave no trace.”

  14. drumstixx

    I am invested in this case because I live in Nicola Furlong’s community in Wexford, Ireland. I am myself an American living abroad. Nicola was a lovely young girl and her name was dragged though the mud and made to be out as a whore and drug addict by the young men and their defence which is far from the truth. The two men were both found guilty by strong evidence that it was not these girls fault and her murder was not a accident. I am angry that someone did not try to stop this, the hotel let them wheel two unconscience girls to these guys rooms. I am angry that Nicola’s name was dragged through the mud and people keep defending the convicted killer and the convicted sexual predator.Nothing to do with their race, video evidence proved they were in no way goody goody christians like they claim.These girls were victims and Nicola Furlong’s family will never be the same. They will forever suffer. Both these men will be able to continue there life after their sentence. Lucky for Blackston he was still a minor because he got it real easy.

    • Delroy Wilson

      Drumstixx: I don’t see where you’re getting that Furlong was made out to be a drug addict and a whore. What’s the basis of that allegation? I don’t see anything like that in the testimony of Hinds and Blackston.
      I hadn’t been aware that video shown in court showed the two men “bundling” the women into a cab. Thanks for pointing that out.
      And I while I agree that the evidence is very strong that Hinds is responsible for Furlong’s death, I have reasonable doubts about some of the evidence.
      But even if every word of the prosecution’s version of events is true, there is no reason why Hinds would seek to kill Furlong. And if he didn’t intend to kill her, I don’t understand how he can be charged and convicted of murder.
      Rather, he should have been charged with rape or attempted rape and aggravated manslaughter. The evidence all seems to point to that charge.
      And…Blackston wasn’t a minor, nor did he get off easy. Three years seems a very heavy sentence in Japan for something like that.

      • Delroy Wilson

        And indeed I too would like to know how alcohol alone left these two women unconscious for several hours. It doesn’t really make sense and, indeed, according to testimony from Hinds and a fellow band member who called his room, isn’t true. Furlong answered the phone when the band member rang Hinds’ room. She was no unconscious the whole time.

      • pat, ireland

        “Drumstixx: I don’t see where you’re getting that Furlong was made out to be a drug addict and a whore. What’s the basis of that allegation?”

        I would imagine it came from the defence suggesting the 9 needle marks in her leg were evidence of drug use?. And of Mr Hinds suggesting that when the poor girl came to she was immediately demanding rough sex?

        ” according to testimony from Hinds and a fellow band member who called his room, isn’t true. Furlong answered the phone when the band member rang Hinds’ room. She was no unconscious the whole time”

        I’d ignore entirely the evidence of a convicted killer and his friend.
        Also I’d say you’re in a minority in thinking “Three years seems a very heavy sentence in Japan for something like that.”

      • Delroy Wilson

        Drumstixx: If Furlong sought rough sex, that wouldn’t make her a whore. It’s understandable that her parents would not like to hear something like that about their daughter, but the reality is that there are people who like that sort of thing and it doesn’t make them bad people.
        You can chose to ignore evidence, but doing so only underscores that your conclusions lack careful consideration and are the product of bias against the defendant.
        Indeed, you can’t rationally expect the defense to ignore needle marks. They well could have been evidence of drug use and given the circumstances of Furlong’s death, it would have been negligent for the defense not to examine the possibility that she had used drugs.
        That does not equal “making Furlong out to be a drug addict.”
        And you have no way of knowing what the majority thinks about Blackston’s sentence. No one’s taking a poll. You’re just guessing. Perhaps you don’t care about that evidence either, but if you do, I would suggest taking a look through blacktokyo.com, where they’ve assembled some data showing much lighter sentence for similar cases.
        One proviso on Blackston: he was charged with two cases of “quasi-indecency” and based on the reports that I’ve seen, it is unclear whether he was punished at all for groping Furlong’s friend in the cab, or for a similar sexual assault of another woman who came forward after hearing about the cab assault in the news media.

      • drumstixx

        The two men and their defence painted the two victims out to be looking for this. This seems to happen a lot to victims which is why a lot of sexually assaulted victims do not report incidence in the first place because they make them out to be “sluts”. After being assaulted who wants to go through that?

        I also saw the Furlong family on the Late Late show last week talking about the court case.They were saying the defence was trying to say the scars and needle marks on Nicola from the autopsy was from dug use. They were dragging this young girls name through the mud and her parents had to sit through all this.

        “The witness also said he thought the girls were “party girls, the kind who take drugs like speed or meth”.” – See more at: http://www.blacktokyo.com/2013/03/10/nicola-furlong-trial-where-does-the-evidence-lead/#sthash.8kNn2ngL.dpuf

        “It would make your blood, listening to the stuff coming out… what they were dressed in – that they were going out looking for men, looking for sex”

        The whole thing is tragic. Again these two young men will be able to continue their live, have families, feel joy. Nicola Furlong will not be able to live hers. Her family is forever scarred. The friend of Nicola is forever scared.

        I can understand how Hinds family is scarred,but they still have their son and he will again be able to continue LIFE. How is this fair?

  15. brendan

    Could someone from America please assure me of something? Richard Hinds’ father yesterday professed tearfully to the congregation of the Olivet Fellowship Baptist Church that he believed his son was innocent in spite of the overwhelming evidence against him. He was grateful for the light sentence his son received which he described as “the equivalent of going to college for four years”. Not only did a vile beast sexually assault and murder an innocent young girl whose only crime was to be too trusting of strangers, he falsely sullied her honour with foul allegations of sexual deviancy. Had an Irish citizen committed such a crime against a young American girl, the anger, revulsion and shame here in Ireland would be universal, and the father would not dare show his face however self-delusional he might be. Can somebody over there please assure me, and more importantly Nicola’s grieving family, that the good people of that church were not fooled for one moment? That knowledge would go some small way in easing the pain of her awful death. Thank you.

    • Delroy Wilson

      I doubt I am alone in believing that Nicola’s name wasn’t sullied by any claim of “sexual deviancy.” Even if what Hinds said about rough sex was true, that doesn’t sully her name at all. She’s a free individual, not a subject for you to judge based on how she likes her sex relative to how you like yours.
      We do know, however, that Nicola took a Xanax, then drank bottles of homemade cocktail brought to an early evening concert, then downed tequila shots at a bar. That certainly does nothing to exonerate Hinds for killing her, But it is the closest the circumstances come to “sullying” her as it shows incredibly bad judgment and a lack of self-control.
      Wake up, Brendan. Young white women, including Irish, hop in to bed with young black men all the time. It’s nothing that “sullies” anyone. It’s nature.
      More important, perhaps, Hinds parents and ordinary observers like me have a very good reason to doubt the murder charge.
      While the evidence is indeed overwhelming that Hinds caused or helped cause Nicola’s death, the prosecution hasn’t eliminated very reasonable doubts about Hinds intent to kill. According to press coverage, Hinds motive was to keep Nicola quiet. This makes sense, if the picture painted by the prosecution of what happened in the room is accurate. But wanting to keep someone quiet is very far from wanting to kill them.
      Based on the case as represented in the press, the vast majority of which was extremely biased against the defendant and woefully inaccurate, it seems clear that Hinds had no motive to kill Furlong and certainly no intent to. Based on the evidence presented, it was a horrible, tragic accident and one that no one other than Hinds is responsible for.
      He should indeed be punished severely, but it’s very important to get the punishment right and to execute justice based on the law and the reality of what happened rather than on the understandable desire of Nicola’s parents to see her as chaste or on the anger and grief at her tragic loss.
      I would guess that the Japanese judge and quasi-jury weighed all of these matters in sentencing Hinds to 5-10 years. If they had believed he murdered Nicola, as in he intended to kill her, they would have and could have found a way around Hinds status as a minor to give him a much more severe sentence. I know from both experience and observation that the Japanese law enforcement and judicial system has no problem with selective applications of the law based on what is deemed “appropriate” to the circumstances. That may well be what happened here.
      Lastly, I would agree that Hinds father’s comments about jail being like a university are absurd and tragic. But rather than condemn him as somehow lacking compassion for the victim, I would interpret his comments as reflecting profound grief at the entire episode which will no doubt scar his entire family as well.

      • brendan

        Perhaps it is quite normal and acceptable for young Baptist girls from respectable families in America to routinely get drunk and drugged up and ‘jump into bed’ with perfect strangers at a moment’s notice, demanding to be serviced with a vigorous bout of ‘rough sex’ and turning violent when refused. Here, I assure you, we have not yet reached that level of liberal sophistication you appear to espouse. No doubt it gives you comfort to believe otherwise, but all who knew Nicola and the family and culture she came from are in no doubt as to what transpired that night. She had the misfortune to cross paths with evil and paid the ultimate price. Her innocence and unworldliness were her downfall, and as the father of grown-up children I am heartbroken for her. That fact that this has not been acknowledged by the pro-Hinds camp is what enrages me. The comments made by Hinds Sr. were the last straw.
        As for your strange comment ‘ Wake up, white women jump into bed with black men all the time’ – what the hell is that supposed to mean? Is this what this reticence is all about? Racism? Is this confounded obsession with race in America ever going to end? Let me assure you Delroy, in the angry, heated discussions of this case here over the last year the fact of the young man’s colour has been a non-issue. To me, as with most of the rural farming community in the west of Ireland where I live, all Americans look alike – not necessarily a compliment.
        Which makes me wonder…because there is something curious at the core of this whole dastardly affair. I am starting to believe that you may be correct in your assertion that Hinds is not the cold-blooded killer he at first appears. Nicola’s father at the start of the trial admitted to feeling strangely sorry for the lonely, childlike figure standing in the dock. It may be that the root of this tragedy is embedded in the evil mind of the Blackston blackguard and Hinds was led uncharacteristically astray. It would certainly make sense. That said, however, I’ll not forgive the cowardly lies he concocted to blacken her reputation in death.
        Anyway, I appreciate your reply to my original comment. I wrote it in a fury in response to Hinds Sr.’s comment. I’m still angry, but less so. Thanks, B.

  16. Brendan, it doesn’t matter what the topic is here, if there are parties of more than one race involved the entire comments section implodes into racial debates. It’s a sad American phenomenon. So much so that i eventually blocked words like racist from going through to comments unmoderated. I see no end in sight to this sort of reaction here in the states.

    Sorry for all you are going through.

    • brendan

      Thank you Tamara. And thank you also for providing a forum whereby somebody like myself can vent his spleen in respect of this sad case. I think you’re the only one. It does make a difference.

  17. Delroy Wilson

    Brendan: To belittle and bemoan the grieving of Hinds’ father, absurd though it may be, is in truly bad taste.
    It’s almost as bad as your suggestion that Nicola’s decision to take Xanax and get really drunk somehow makes her less of an innocent victim in this scenario.
    This is a murder case, not a witch trial, and if Hinds actually intended to kill Furlong it is indeed unfathomably heinous and sickening. If he instead killed her accidentally while in the act of trying to force or coerce her into having sex, it is still heinous and worthy of strong punishment, but still not quite an act of murder and not quite as hideous.
    If it was accidental and occurred during consensual sex, it remains something HInds must take responsibility for and face some level of punishment, but again, it’s not murder and not nearly on the same moral level.
    The last thing we need to be doing in a case like this is lashing out about Furlong’s moral status as someone who got really drunk and willingly went out to get even drunker with a guy she just met at a train station.

    • pat, ireland

      The Xanax level was very low according to the medical evidence and had no impact on her death, again according to the medical evidence. Both the defence and prosecution ( I stress the defence agree) say she died because of being strangled for a number of minutes. The alcohol level in her bloodstream was quite low, according to the evidence, despite your attempts to slander the poor girl.

      • Delroy Wilson

        Again, this is a murder case, not a witch trial. Furlong’s chastity and sobriety are not at issue, though her condition on the night she died most certainly is. We need to explore all the facts regarding that condition while understanding that the victim’s moral status has no bearing on the case.
        It is simply not possible that the alcohol level in her blood was “quite low” because she passed out right in the bar and remained in that state while being brought into the hotel.
        Furlong’s friend remembers nothing about what happened that night. Did she too have a “quite low” level of alcohol in her bloodstream?

    • brendan

      ‘It’s almost as bad as your suggestion that Nicola’s decision to take Xanax and get really drunk somehow makes her less of an innocent victim in this scenario.’

      My suggestion? What on earth makes you think I have suggested such a thing? Quite the contrary. By now, I’m certain any right-thinking, unbiased examination of this case can come to only one conclusion; Nicola, together with her friend, on an average night out with relatively little to drink, suddenly fell unconscious within a short time of meeting two predators, who, having surreptitiously put something in their drinks, carried them unceremoniously to a hotel room to be assaulted. There, suddenly awakening to the horror that was being visited upon her, she fought to save herself, whereupon the immature, panic-stricken thug, thinking only of what the consequences of this might be to his worthless life, using too much force to keep her quiet, killed her. Had it been the more experienced Blackston brute, to whom this scenario I have no doubt has been played out many times before, she may have escaped with just a beating. These are the core facts of the case on which the jury agreed and I question the motives of anyone who would refute them.

      I make no apologies for my belittling the ‘grief’ of Mr Hinds Sr., bad taste or no. His callous indifference to the very real grief of the Furlong family is nauseating. Within a few short years his son will return from his brief sojourn in his Tokyo ‘university’, no doubt greeted by a forest of yellow ribbons, and eventually and quietly the whole Tokyo unpleasantness will be conveniently forgotten. Meanwhile Nicola Furlong’s body lies in a grave here in Wexford for ever. I know what it is like to lose a child – the pain never goes away.

      The avalanche of replies expressing sympathy from the devout Christians of the Olivet Fellowship Baptist Church has so far failed to materialize. Too pre-occupied with fattening a calf I suppose. Still, I haven’t given up hope just yet.

  18. Delroy Wilson

    Brendan: the blood work showed only Xanax and alcohol. Your claim that Hinds and Blackston put something in their drinks is disproven beyond reasonable doubt.
    And your claim that the victims were “on an average night out with relatively little to drink” directly contradicts the evidence. They packed vodka cocktail in their purses. At the bar, they ordered tequila shots, not wine or beer. These are not the actions of people who prefer to remain sober. More important, the two women passed out cold and, again, no drugs, other than the Xanax Furlong took on her own, were found in their blood.
    These are “core facts:” no drugs found in the victims’ blood. No drugs found with Hinds or Blackston. No one at the bar testified they saw anyone putting anything in the victims drinks.
    The fact that you would question the motives of someone who refutes the prosecution’s evidence says either your own motives are other than seeking the truth or you don’t actually know what the word refute means.

    • brendan

      Oxford dictionary. Refute – deny the accuracy or truth of. Very low levels of alcohol in her blood proves heavy drinking was absolutely not the reason she fell unconscious so quickly. It happened almost immediately after meeting these two creeps. Of course they put something in their drinks. Just because there was no trace some hours later proves nothing – maybe it dissipated in the intervening time. Who knows? Blackston was a very clever, practiced pervert and would have known how to cover his tracks. The judges would have known that too but it in the end it didn’t matter – the poor girl was strangled. Common sense points to the truth and that is what I say you deny.

      I don’t want to dwell on the events of that night any further. It’s too depressing, serves no purpose and was not the reason I joined this forum.

      • Delroy Wilson

        Furlong’s blood test showed a blood-alcohol level of 2.14mg per 1ml of blood, more than four times the Irish drink-driving limit. The same tests detected Xanax, though in small enough quantities to have been ingested many hours before the test. If the tests picked up minute quantities of Xanax, surely they would detect any drug potent enough to render Furlong and Maher unconscious.
        If you cannot accept the basic facts presented in court, there is indeed no point to our discussion here. It’s a waste of time to try to use fact and logic to dissuade someone from a view they arrived at without the benefit of either.

  19. Anai'T

    Even as this situation has accumulated I do pray for both families and friends of all parties involved. As everyone sits on this posts and boasts about what any of you all feel about either situation this is a lesson for either side of the spectrum. Whether you are of color, male or female, rich or poor, entertainer or bystander one most important lesson is to be responsible for any and all actions you put out into the world. This generation is starting all over again and not from where we have grown but from when we were learning which means there is chance for change. While each party has their theory NO ONE WAS THERE WHEN SUCH EVENTS TOOK PLACE. NO ONE HAS SEEN ALL OF THE FOOTAGE. THERE WERE NO CAMERAS IN THE ROOM. THERE WAS NO FOOTAGE IN THE BARS. FOOTAGE FROM TRAINS WERE NOT SUBMITTED. THERE WERE NO AUDIO TAPES. So how can WE assume or know who was at fault? I blame irresponsibility for both parties and as a young woman this just lets each gender know to be responsible. If you are gonna drink in public, either slow down or be with a group of people you trust. If you are gonna meet new people, go for it but this doesn’t mean trust everyone at first sight. If you are a young man, not every woman is like every woman, in other words every girl does not always want sex. Women, be careful with words and actions you choose, don’t lead men on if you don’t want to go the entire way. It’s okay to want attention but be careful of the attention you are asking for because you never know. I was told when you ask God for such things or pray to him about certain things be specific, because he’ll give you what you are asking for. Yes there are such things as rape drugs and yes there are men out there who are so insecure or so demented and into rape or into abduction that such precautions do take place, police do get involved, and people serve time. However, I’ve also seen women get upset or feel guilty about peer pressuring one of their friends into going out and meeting a guy (usually the friend of a guy they like) which ends up turning into a night one of them wont forget and a night the other CANT REMEMBER. POINT IS BE CAREFUL. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR ACTIONS.
    This is what is wrong with the world today too many people wanna be negative. Kids want to be grown but no one understands a situation until something goes wrong. I understand trial and error but how about just being happily united and overcoming obstacles on a POSITIVE NOTE. GET YOUR LIFE TOGETHER!!! LIFE IS WAY TOO SHORT FOR BULLSHIT!!

    • Anai'T

      again my prayers and blessings go out to NIcola Furlong’s family and everyone affected by this event!

    • drumstixx

      There was video surveillance of the girls being wheeled in a wheel chair passed out to to the boys hotel rooms. Yes taking the two passed out girls to separate rooms not even keeping them together.

  20. Kennith Shepherd

    I’ve known Rich since under the age of 10. I watched him grow up. And still proud to call him my brother!!! I don’t and can’t believe that he would ever murder anyone. Some facts that still remain untouched are, where did these girls meet Rich and his friend? Were the girls on drugs at the initial meeting? It’s funny that I read reports that say he strangled her by hand and some say with a towel. Why would Rich call for help if he was the one who committed this crime? Wouldn’t most people flee? My heart goes out to the family for their lost but Rich didn’t do it and that’s that!!!

    • Irish mam

      The girls met the anamels at the train station after the concert, No the girls were not on drugs. Nicola took a perscribed zanax the night before the concert to help her sleep.My guess is he panicked & called for help, too bloody late

  21. Eliza

    It is sad, reading these comments questioning how much Nicola and her friend were drinking, their ‘behavior’, etc. The coverage of this case in Australia was minimal but not one article or story expressed pity for or doubt regarding Hines. And that is the way it should be. There are twice as many rapists in the US than single mothers (source at Amptoons). 78.4% of Americans identify as Christian. You would have to be oblivious or a moron to think the two are mutually exclusive.

    A girl was raped and murdered. End of. I pity the Bible Belt of America.

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