End of a Decades-Long Chase

Suicide death of Japanese business man makes for classic noir fiction

KNBC reports on the 61-year-old Japanese businessman, acquitted in his own country of murdering his wife in 1981, who has committed suicide in a Los Angeles jail cell.  Miura, who arrived in the U.S. just a few hours earlier, used his own shirtsleeve to hang himself to prevent facing murder charges.

For many, last Friday’s 9:45 pm discovery means a 27-year old murder case would not see the light of October.

Still, you have to think some screenwriter is now making it into a Tokyo-LA cold case noir story that sprawls decades, continents and hearings, and uses Downtown as a backdrop.

Picture the screenwriter laboring on a story, finding a way to open with retired LAPD Lt. Jimmy Sakoda, the "samurai detective" who stayed on the case under after he retired, hearing the news of  Miura death while he was  jogging or meditating.

The film, the story goes on with flashbacksl, As an ambulance leaves Parker Center for L.A. County General; in the background the Kyoto Grand Hotel. It then  fade to the same hotel the morning of August 13, 1981. The hotel is then known the New Otani and we meet Kazumi Miura, 28, a Japanese wife of a successful businessman, Kazuyoshi Miura.  Later, we see her survive an assault in her hotel room.

Three months later on a isolated street Downtown, off Second, along the 110 Freeway, Kazuyoshi and Kazumi Miura are taking photographs and shot at.  She is struck in the head, the husband in the leg.

Kazumi Miura remains unconscious and dies a year later in Japan. Kazuyoshi Miura collects on life insurance policies taken out on his wife totaling $655,000, while calling the attack a typical risk for Japanese tourists.

Years later, Sakoda and other LAPD officers join Japanese police to gain evidence that Miura lead the conspiracy for the actual murder.

The writer goes on to show Sakoda convinced that Miura can be arrested if  he ever entered U.S. territory, based on the outstanding U.S. warrant for Miura's arrest. Miura then writes on his own blog that he would visit the U.S. territory of Saipan, tipping off Sakoda who then intercepts Miura in Saipan.

Sakoda says "Gotcha" to Miura.

The writer of this noir will show Miura fighting extradition, but then agreeing  to return to L.A. after a judge dismissed the murder charge as double jeopardy. The chase begins to end as Miura’s double jeopardy protection fails under a 2004 state ruling for those tried overseas.

That brings us to last Friday night,  and the birth of a noir.

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