Published March 13, 2013
| Associated Press
TOKYO – The friend of an American on trial in the murder of an Irish exchange student in Tokyo has been convicted of sexually assaulting the woman she was with on the night she died.
Tokyo District Court found James Blackston guilty Wednesday and sentenced him to three years in prison. Prosecutors had asked for a four-year sentence.
Blackston, a 23-year-old dancer from Los Angeles, was accused of assaulting the woman in a taxi on the way to a Tokyo hotel last May after he and Richard Hinds took her and Nicola Furlong out drinking.
Hinds, of Memphis, Tennessee, is on trial separately on charges of murdering Furlong in another room at the hotel. Testimony in Hinds' trial ended Wednesday and a verdict is expected March 19.