Nicolas Zepeda is appealing his 28-year sentence

The Chilean defendant appealed the day after his conviction for the December 2016 killing of Narumi Kurosaki in Besançon. A new trial is imminent. The accused has always denied the murder of his ex-girlfriend, even if there are many indications leading to him.

This is a new twist in an extraordinary process with international dimensions. Nicolas Zepeda, who was involved in the investigation and the French judiciary, was extradited from Chile in July 2020.

The day after his conviction for the murder of Narumi Kurosaki, the Japanese woman who disappeared in Besançon in December 2016, the Chilean defendant appealed, his lawyers said on Wednesday April 13. He is appealing the verdict and damages to the civil parties. He had to pay each of the victim’s parents 50,000 euros and each of his sisters 40,000 euros in damages. Arthur Del Piccolo, the victim’s boyfriend at the time, was to receive €5,000.

Throughout the trial, in his cabin, the accused denied the murder of his former girlfriend. “I am not who I want, but I am not an assassin, I am not Narumi’s assassin”he said in French during his final speech before the jury began deliberating.

On the night of December 4th to 5th, 2016, Nicolas Zepeda was still very present in Besançon, students heard screams, groans, undoubtedly those of young Narumi, on the night of the university residence.

According to the prosecutor, Nicolas Zepeda suffocated or strangled Narumi before removing his body, presumably in the Doubs river, not far from Dole (Jura). He then hacked Narumi Kurosaki’s social media accounts to send messages to his relatives, posing as alive, the time to return to Chile.

The conviction had been a relief to the mother and sister of the young Japanese man who was present at the hearing. You learn of the defendant’s appeal. “It’s the exercise of a right, and it’s an extension of Nicolas Zepeda’s denial, so no, I’m not surprised. On the other hand I am very disappointed and worried for my clients because for them it is an extra ordeal to go through and go through. They’re currently on their way to Japan, so I imagine they’ll be difficult to hear.” Me Sylvie Galley reacted shortly after the announcement of the call from Nicolas Zepeda. “For the family, it adds to the pain that they somewhere thought they were done with this process and couldn’t imagine there would be a challenge so quick. They left in the spirit of restoring their composure, barely 12 hours later they collapsed.” adds the lawyer of Narumi Kurosaki’s mother and sister.

“Even if no answer (about the circumstances of Narumi’s death) was given, at least this time the conviction is pronounced”I had reacted to Sylvie Galley at the end of the deliberation by the Assizes after 12 days of trial marked by the emotion and the silence of the accused on a certain number of questions.

“After five years of waiting for this process, the family is relieved. His mother and sister were so afraid that Nicolas Zepeda would be believed and their suffering and pain would not be heard.” she added, hoping there wouldn’t be an appeals process.

Nicolas Zepeda was defended during this trial by Me Jacqueline Laffont, a renowned criminal lawyer, and Ms Julie Benedetti. What pose will he adopt during the new jury trial? Will he have the same strategy? “Of course it’s risky, an appeal is always risky. The risk is an increase in the security period, the amount of the penalty, it’s a risk he’s taking.” Me Randall Schwerdorffer, for his part, thinks Arthur is the young Japanese’s last friend. For the lawyer “mObviously, Nicolas Zepada remains in denial”with this appeals process so soon after the worst murder conviction.

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