Murder Conspiracy Case Dismissed After Japanese Suspect Hangs Self in Jail

A judge on Tuesday formally dismissed the case against a Japanese businessman who hanged himself in a jail cell while awaiting trial for allegedly plotting his wife's death 27 years ago during a visit to Los Angeles.

Kazuyoshi Miura, 61, was found dead Friday, four days before he was to be arraigned on a murder conspiracy charge.

The case had been a huge story in Japan, and many Japanese journalists swarmed the hallway Tuesday outside the courtroom where his arraignment had been scheduled. The judge took the bench briefly and declared the case dismissed.

A police report attached to the dismissal order provided a few graphic details of Miura's death.

It said that Miura, who had been extradited to the United States earlier in the day, was last seen alive by an officer who checked his cell at 9:36 p.m. Friday night. At 9:43 p.m. a detention officer found him hanging "with a ligature around his neck at one end of the bunk bed," the report said.

Police have said the ligature was made from pieces of Miura's shirt.

"No foul play is suspected. No note was found," said the report.

The coroner provided a preliminary document, which did not state a cause of death "pending medical evaluation."

The judge's dismissal order, requested by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, capped a case that included several bizarre twists.

The case began Nov. 18, 1981, where Miura and his wife were shot by unknown assailants in a downtown Los Angeles parking garage after a day of sight seeing. Miura was shot in the leg and recovered, but his wife was shot in head and died after lingering in a coma for a year.

Miura was convicted in 1994 in Japan of plotting his wife's death and was sentenced to life in prison, but the Japanese Supreme Court reversed the case and acquitted Miura in 2003.

Miura was arrested in February during a trip to Saipan and was extradited to the United States to face a murder conspiracy charge.