(TOKYO) — Japanese police have formally arrested a Memphis, Tenn., teenager in connection with the murder of an Irish exchange student in Tokyo last month. Richard Hinds, 19, is suspected of killing Nicola Furlong, 21, in her hotel room in the Shinjuku area, on May 24.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department told ABC News Hinds has admitted to strangling Furlong, but told investigators he had no intention to kill.
Hinds and 23-year-old American James Blackston had already been in custody on suspicion of molesting Furlong’s female friend, also an Irish national, inside a taxi the night of the murder.
Police say they decided to additionally charge Hinds with the killing after reviewing Furlong’s autopsy and examining surveillance footage from inside the hotel, though investigators would not elaborate on details.
Furlong was found strangled to death at the Keio Plaza Hotel following a night out with friends, attending a concert for rapper Nicki Minaj. Police say a hotel employee went to check on Furlong’s room after hearing a loud noise and found her lying on the floor, with Hinds standing nearby.
Furlong was studying in the city of Takasaki, about 60 miles northwest of Tokyo.
Hinds is a well known Christian musician in the Memphis area, but had travelled abroad to work as a backup dancer to a Japanese R&B artist, according to ABC News affiliate WPTY-TV in Memphis. He planned to return home on June 20, before he was arrested.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Samantha Beech, CNN
Joe Sterling and Darran Simon, CNN
Eliza Mackintosh, CNN