Category Archives: Richard Hinds

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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Filed under James Blackston, Nicola Furlong, Richard Hinds

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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Filed under James Blackston, News, Nicki Minaj, Nicola Furlong, Richard Hinds

American Richard Hinds Murder Trial Has Begun in Tokyo

Minor Update on Nicola Furlong CaseThe trial of American Richard Hinds began in Tokyo on Monday. Hinds is accused of murdering Nicola Furlong, an Irish Exchange student after a Nicki Minaj concert last May. My articles on this crime generated a lot of international responses from Ireland and Japan as well as commenters of friends of Richard Hinds and James Blackston. For this reason there was a lot of animosity in the comments section. If you click on the categories for this story, I must want you that this was before the racist language ban at Tamaratattles.  Also, there is a commenter who is proclaiming the innocence of Hinds in comments. I have allowed both sides to state their opinions; however, I must point out that one of the commenters initially posting as “Source” currently claims to be at the trial but his IPs indicate he is still at his original stateside address. He also uses multiple nics to support his own posts. Continue reading

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Richard Hinds To Be Tried as an Adult in Tokyo

Two preliminary court proceedings were held in Tokyo this week. On Thursday, the family of Nicola Furlong, including her parents and her sister, attended court to give  victim impact statements. Nicola’s father gave the statement to the court outlining the tragic impact Nicola’s death has had on their lives. When Andrew Furlong gave his address to the court the defendant, Richard Hinds, was seated well in front of him with his back to the courtroom and family. The family did not come face to face with the defendant.

On Friday, the court made the decision to try Hinds as an adult, despite being considered a minor, at age 19, under Japanese law. If found guilty, the maximum penalty under the adult court system will be life in prison, as opposed to five years for a minor. In addition to the much greater penalties, the court proceedings in adult court will be much more open giving access to the public and media. The video above shows the parents positive response to the ruling as well as pictures of the hotel where the death occured and the courtroom. I’ll keep you updated as I find out new information on the case.

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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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Filed under James Blackston, Nicola Furlong, Richard Hinds

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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Filed under James Blackston, Nicola Furlong, Richard Hinds

Richard Hinds in Jail in Tokyo The Next Amanda Knox?

Some of you are wondering how the story on the two guys arrested in Tokyo is getting so much play on my blog. Here’s the deal. My friends and I like to talk about reality TV and also court cases. It was through that connection that I learned about the situation in Japan. Early reports on the case indicated that the suspects may have been part of the Nicki Minaj entourage. So I decided it might be relevant to the blog since it was connected to entertainment and posted about it. Prior to posting, I read every single thing that the media puts out there. I keep up with the story every day. And the more I read the sadder I get.

It’s easy to make judgements when you think you know what happened based on “media reports.”  A beautiful young girl “has been strangled” and there is a guy “standing over her body not calling for help.”  Two men are arrested for sexually assaulting someone in a taxi that has “video of the incident.” But, the more I look into this, the more I wish I had not reported the story at all. I read dozens of stories a day and I see so many misstatements of fact.  I get annoyed when y’all misstate facts about the fucking housewives. But there are people’s lives on the line here. It’s serious. And the misstatements are in major newspapers overseas!

Also, while Japan was protecting the name of the 19 year old suspect, one (wrong) name was being published in newspapers as the other suspect. Other places are listing the name of the other girl who is allegedly the victim of sexual abuse. There are so many things heart breakingly wrong with this “story” I posted as if I had all the answers. I regret perpetuating the name of the first “likely suspect.” I will tell you that several sources were posting the name of another musician as the second suspect. I did not. Why? Because I found him on twitter posting away like a choir boy. It took just a few minutes to check. As it turns out that kid who is basically everything any mother would want their kid to be, gifted, spiritual and  hardworking, is friends with Richard Hinds, the actual 19 year old in jail.

Today I have read about each of the band members from Memphis who are on the AI tour. Rich had a brother who is also a keyboardist on tour with him. He is touring and I imagine filling in on keyboards while his brother is in Japanese jail. The guitarist and a hand full of other musicians from Memphis are carrying on. I can’t imagine how hard that would be. There is nothing else they can do. But they are all very religious and putting it in God’s hands. What remarkable young men they are. This is my blog, and these are my opinions but I don’t see Rich Hinds having the intent to harm a fly. My mind could change with more evidence, but I don’t expect to see anything that ties him to the death of Nicola Furlong. I don’t know what happened, I wasn’t there. I regret my assumptions.  But now that I know who the 19 year old is? I don’t believe he did anything to harm Nicola. I think Rich made a bad choice to hang out with James Blackston. What 19 year old hasn’t found themselves in a bad situation? I feel like maybe Rich was trying to take care of Nicola who some reports say got wasted and/or drugged in the bar and found himself dealing with a dead girl in a hotel room in a foreign county alone at age 19.

I wish the media would give this case as much attention as they did Amanda Knox. This kid appears to be a great person. I would like to apologize to the commenter that came in to defend him even before we knew who the “19 year old” really was. It’s just such a sad situation. I feel bad for almost everyone involved.  The Memphis crew seems like really shining examples of fine young men. I hope that the media and the government will defend this young man and bring him home. As a trial watcher, I am sad that Memphis has to go through another battle for a young man falsely accused.

Am I the only one who cares about this?

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Filed under Nicola Furlong, Richard Hinds

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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Filed under James Blackston, Nicola Furlong, Richard Hinds