Category Archives: James Blackston

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. Continue reading

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Nicola Furlong’s Sister Gives a Victims Statement in Tokyo Courtroom

Brief Nicola Furlong Case UpdateThe 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. Continue reading

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Updates on the Nicola Furlong Case (New Charge)

James Blackston (pictured at left), a dancer from California who was arrested in Toyko for quasi-forcible indecency has been re-arrested and charged with a second case of quasi-forcible indecency in a separate incident. When I heard of the “re-arrest” yesterday it was unclear whether the arrest was a formality on the charge that occurred after the death of Nicola Furlong, whether it was an increase on that charge or if it was an entirely separate incident. The Irish Sun is reporting that it is indeed a second incident which occurred on April 21st in a hotel in Kofu.  A second source is reporting that Blackston had several pictures of the victim of the new charge on his cell phone. It is unclear at this time whether the second victim came forward after the media regarding the initial charge or if the police contacted the young woman based on the photos stored in Blackston’s phone. The latest victim is said to be a foreigner in her twenties, according to Japanese police. The police have not identified the new victim’s country of origin. The Japanese police report that the second victim was forced to drink large quantities of tequila before Blackston took her back to his hotel room.  The Irish Sun also reports that Blackston continues to deny all charges.

There is little information on Richard Hinds (pictured at right) who remains in Japanese custody, also on a quasi-forcible indecency charge, regarding his current arrest status with regard to the death of Nicola Furlong.  Just over two weeks ago the family of Nicola Furlong was told that an arrest for the murder of Nicola was imminent. The toxicology reports that it was assumed the police were waiting for have not yet been made public.  One of my commenters here, who claims to have inside knowledge of the case, claims that the toxicology report came back positive for drugs, but apparently not a date rape drug. I have no idea who the commenter is and cannot vouch for anonymous information. However, there has been speculation among some covering this story that the toxicology reports do not support the drugged theory the prosecution is building their case on. Hinds has confessed to Japanese police during interrogation that he pressed on her neck but did not intend to kill her.

The family of Nicola Furlong was also expecting a preliminary trial of sorts this week where formal charges would be brought against Hinds and that has so far failed to happen.

Thank you for being respectful in the comment section. Please be aware that friends and family of all sides of this matter are in either a state of grieving or disbelief.  I think that all sides can agree that they want the truth to come out and justice to prevail, whatever that may be.  Until we get more facts on this case, neither side can come to terms with a tragedy that has resulted in the death of one young woman and the sexual assaults of two others. I appreciate the comments, especially from those of you translating Japanese press, but please try to be respectful to the sensitivities of both sides of the issue.

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Latest Updates on the Nicola Furlong Death Investigations

Blackston
I’ve had requests from all over for a synopsis what happened in Tokyo that led to the death of Nicola Furlong. Nicola and her friend, let’s call her “S”, were Irish nationals on an exchange program to a Japanese school for their third year. On Wednesday, May 23rd, Nicola tweeted her parents that she was looking forward to going to the Nicki Minaj concert in Tokyo with “S” and they were hoping to go to the after party. Both young women went to the concert and at some point after the concert realized they had missed the last train back to their campus. Partying on, they met two men. James Blackston and Richard Hinds. Details here are a bit murky. Most reports agree that they were in a club  in a part of Tokyo called Shibuya where the alcohol flows and drugs are readily available. The foursome were social with other partiers. There is one claim that one of the girls was seen partying with “some white guy” and got very intoxicated while associating with him. Another report states that both Hinds and Blackston were drinking and carousing with other women.The relevance of this part of the story is that it is not unusual for young women to have their drinks spiked in this part of town. Any number of people that the girls were socializing with could have spiked their drinks, or they may simply have been offered something to try. Blackston and Hinds may also have had an opportunity to partake in drug use at the club. Some reports indicate that the girls were very disoriented at the club. Eventually, two girls left in a cab with Blackston and Hinds to go to their hotel room.

The two men are both being held in Japan currently on charges of “quasi-forcible indecency” which essentially means they groped one or both of the women while they were in a state of extreme intoxication and unable to resist. These charges stem from the taxi ride.


Hinds

Once in the hotel “S” went to Blackston’s room and Nicola went to Hinds room. Again we have two reports as to what occurred. I tend to believe perhaps both things happened. First, around 3:06 am someone in a neighboring room called the front desk to report noise disturbance coming from Hinds room. It has also been reported that Hinds called the front desk himself around 3:20 am stating that Nicola was not breathing and requesting medical assistance. An ambulance was called and Nicola was pronounced dead.

Later that day, Hinds willingly went with police to be interrogated but because detectives couldn’t keep him in custody without charge for more than 72 hours, they provisionally charged him and Blackston with “quasi-forcible indecency” two days later. Inspectors can keep a person on that holding charge for 23 days then the person needs to be released or formally charged. The 23 day mark is Friday.

Nicola’s father returned from Japan very recently. He spent several days speaking to the Japanese authorities regarding the death of his daughter. He seems to indicate that the case is focused on Hinds and the investigators have a strong case. He was also asked for input on sentencing. It seems probable at this point that Hinds will be charged in the death. Blackston will either be formally charged in the taxi incident or released. It has been reported that the taxi incident was captured on the taxi’s surveillance camera. It remains unclear if Blackston will be implicated in any way for the death of Nicola.

The official police statement said that Nicola died by suffocation through cervical compression. This is widely reported as strangulation in the press. However, the same cause of death could occur from a fall on the neck or as more salacious news media has mentioned, rough sex play.

Hinds, who has only recently been identified in the US media is a keyboardist from Memphis. He was traveling with his brother and some other Memphis musicians as part of Japanese Hip-Hop artist AI’s tour. Blackston was a backup dancer with the tour. Recent reports out of Memphis indicate Hinds was very active in his church and very highly thought of in the community. Family and friends are adamant that he is innocent. Hinds has no previous criminal record in Shelby County.

Update: A new report out of Japan says that Hinds admits to grabbing Nicola’s neck, but he didn’t intend to kill her.  If this report is true, he might as well plead guilty and save everyone a lot of heartache. What a sad story this is.

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19 Year Old Suspect in Death of Irish Exchange Student in Tokyo is a Well-Known Christian Musician

Local Memphis news stations are reporting that the 19 year old held in Tokyo on charges similar to sexual battery in this country is Richard Hinds. He is described as a well known Christian musician  with a good reputation in his community. It seems perplexing to those interviewed that he could have anything to do with the death of Nicola Furlong. Japan it seems has a law specifically against drugging someone and molesting them, and charges people with the law somewhat frequently. It is beginning to look to me as though if toxicology reports (which have not been released) indicate that the victim had drugs in her system, the presumption will be that she was given the drugs by Hinds without considering the possibility that the victim may have knowingly ingested them or been unknowingly given them by another person at the club the foursome went to together prior to Furlong’s death. Initial reports out of Tokyo indicated that the cause of death was strangulation. Accurate information on this case is very difficult to ferret out. I’ll keep you updated as the story develops. Meanwhile, click the Nicola Furlong tag below this post to see all previous posts on this topic.

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New Name Emerges in the Case of Two American Men Held In Japan on Sexual Assault Charges

Two members of the entourage of Ai (Ai Carina Uemura), a popular Japanese singer who is signed with EMI Music Japan, continue to be held in Tokyo after the murder of an Irish exchange student on May 24, 2012 after she and her friend attended a Nicki Minaj concert. Twenty-three year old James Blackston, is a dancer who performed with Ai the night before the murder as part of the AIndependent Tour. The second person being held is a 19 year old musician also part of the entourage. His name is not being released because under Japanese law he is a minor. He was previously identified in the media and in this blog as Larry Perry. However, local Memphis stations are now reporting that the 19 year old is Richard Hinds.    Edit in Red: The newly reported suspect Richard Hinds is a keyboardist from Memphis. He has an older brother who is also a musician. Some reports indicate that both brothers were on the tour. One reporter spoke with their musical mentor who claims that both boys are good kids who were excited about the trip to Japan.The 19 year old was found standing next to the body of Nicola when security went to check out a noise complaint.  Blackston and the woman who was groped in a taxi were in another room at the time the body was found.

Two have been charged with “waisetsu-zai ” which is a sex crime that involves drugging someone and then groping them while they are too drugged to defend themselves. It is believed that the victim of the current charges was not the murder victim, Nicola Furlong, but her friend that she attended the concert with. So far it appears that neither of the two being held have been charged with the death of Nicola. For details of the events of the evening, click here. 

Blackston is pictured at left signing a shoe for a Japanese student. He was teaching dance in a local school on May 21. You can see video of Blackston dancing on a Japanese train here.Nicola was buried in her Irish hometown last Sunday. Today, her father has flown to Tokyo in search of answers with regard to Nicola’s murder. It is expected based on Japanese laws, that formal charges could be filed within the next week. Japanese prosecutors have a notoriously high conviction rate because the meticulously build their cases before formally bringing charges.

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Video of James Blackston, American Dancer Arrested in Japan Dancing on Train in Japan

This Youtube is going around social media of “King Tight” dancing on a public train in Japan. Check out the poor passengers’ reactions. The person who posted the video says this was days before the attack and murder of Nicola Furlong.  However, the person posting the video got a lot of information wrong on their description of the video so there is no way to know when this video was made. This wasn’t funny then, but it’s really not funny now.

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Two Men Likely Part of Nicki Minaj Tour Arrested In Japan for Rape

James “King Tight” Blackston

Nicola Furlong, a 21 year old Irish foreign exchange student, was murdered in an upscale hotel room in Tokyo in the early hours of Thursday morning.  Nicola along with another female friend attended the Nicki Minaj concert Wednesday night.  Details are difficult to confirm but this is how the story is shaping up for me. Nicola and her friend met James “King Tight” Blackston, a backup dancer, and Larry Perry, a 19 year old musician at the concert. It is looking likely, but as yet unconfirmed, that the two were working on the Nicki Minaj tour. The girls were wasted. They had missed the last train out and decided to go to the hotel rooms of James and Larry.  In the car on the way to the hotel, the girl that lived, claims she was sexually assaulted. Both men are arrested on the sexual assault charge. UPDATE: There are conflicting reports on who the 19 year old is. Because in Japan you are a minor at 19 the police are not releasing the name. Most credible sources in the UK are reporting that it “Larry Perry”. Other sources have mentioned a young drummer who is on a tour unrelated to Nick Minaj. However that person is still tweeting and seems highly unlikely to be the correct 19 year old.

At the hotel the foursome paired off into two different rooms. The girl who went to James’ room lived. The girl who went to Larry’s room appears to have been strangled to death around 3 a.m. Other guests reported a loud disturbance. When security checked on the room they found Nicola strangled and Larry standing next to her. She was later pronounced dead at a hospital. Update: Reports are leaking that the deceased woman was sexually assaulted AFTER she was strangled.
Some international reports indicate that the Japanese often arrest on a lessor charge while building a case on the higher charge. It appears that one or both may be charged in the death soon. James has done previous backup dancing for Chris Brown and J-Lo in the past. Not much information on “Larry Perry” yet and the Japanese are not even officially identifying him because he is 19. Blackston is 23. Both are in deep shit.

UPDATE: The two men arrested were not affliated with the Nicki Minaj tour but were working with Japanese Hip Hop artist Ai.  Ai has not issued a statement with regard to the arrests.

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