Lack of Evidence

A Japanese woman and her boyfriend were released after two decades of a life sentence Monday after a court agreed there were serious questions about their guilt in the arson murder of her 11-year-old daughter.

Keiko Aoki, 51, and her 49-year-old common-law husband Tatsuhiro Boku, emerged from separate jails as supporters cheered their release, television footage showed.

"After 20 years, I can finally return to the life that I deserve," Aoki told reporters.

"I can hear my daughter saying to me 'Mom, I'm happy for you'. I want to tell her 'thank you' for watching over me all this time." 

The couple had been found guilty of setting their house on fire by spraying gasoline in the garage -- a blaze that killed Aoki's daughter Megumi -- in an attempt to claim insurance money.

But a court in Osaka on Friday upheld a lower court's decision to order new trials in the case amid serious doubts about the couple's guilt.

It was not clear why there was a delay between Friday's decision and their release.

Defense lawyers had argued that subsequent tests suggested the fire was likely not arson, and there were questions about whether the boyfriend was forced into a false confession during his interrogation.  Read more: 

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