Balinese man gets 15 years' prison in murder of Japan couple

BALI, Indonesia — An Indonesian court on Monday sentenced a Balinese man to 15 years in prison for robbing and murdering an elderly Japanese couple last year on the tourist island of Bali.

The defendant, Putu Astawa, was arrested Sept. 14, two weeks after the discovery of the burned bodies of 73-year-old Hiroko Matsuba and her 76-year-old husband, Norio Matsuba, by their adopted son in their rented house in southern Kuta where the couple had lived for two years.

Police said Astawa, 25, attacked the couple using a knife from their house after they resisted his attempt to rob them. After the killing, Astawa drove to Tanah Lot, a popular tourist spot on Bali's coastline and returned with fuel to burn their bodies, they said.

The woman, who was attacked first, had wounds to her neck and stomach. Her husband had wounds to his back and throat.

Astawa was not appealing the Denpasar District Court's sentence, which is the maximum possible for violent robbery leading to death.

Presiding Judge Wayan Sukanila said there was no reason for leniency and the crime had damaged the image of Bali as a tourist destination.

At the time of Astawa's arrest, police said he had stolen $99 from the couple but it emerged during the trial that he took about $1,045 and the couple's cellphones.

Before Bali, the couple had lived in Bandung, the capital of West Java province, for about 10 years.

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