Irish college student Nicola Furlong was found dead in a Tokyo hotel room after a Nicki Minaj concert last month. On Friday, Japanese authorities arrested 19-year-old American musician Richard Hinds for the murder.
According to press reports, Richard Hinds is a keyboard player from Memphis who specialized in Christian music before joining Japanese-American rapper AI on a world tour. AI had played in Tokyo the night before the Nicki Minaj concert.
The Daily Mail reports that police have CCTV footage showing Hinds bringing an unconscious Furlong to his room with a wheelchair — and that no one enters or leaves the room before hotel employees are called to investigate loud noises a few hours later. Japanese news outlets say Hinds admitted having his hands around the 21-year-old Furlong’s neck, but that he never meant to kill her. Police surmise that Hinds attacked Furlong after she spurned him sexually.
Authorities have yet to formally charge Hinds with her murder, but have charged him and his friend James Blackston, a 23-year-old dancer from LA, with groping Furlong’s girlfriend as the four shared a taxi to the men’s hotel. The men face 10 years in prison on that charge — and Hinds faces a much longer term if he is eventually convicted of Furlong’s murder.
Back in Ireland, Furlong’s parents say that the arrest and potential prosecution will hold little joy. “Any justice that we get now for Nicola, she’s just not going to come back,” mother Angie Furlong told RTE News. “It doesn’t really make much difference to me.”