Japanese student random murder victim

BURLINGTON, Vt., Sept. 29 -- A small quiet Vermont town was reeling Friday from the apparently random slaying of a Japanese woman as she bicycled home from a class.

Authorities said Jacob Sexton, 18, of Winooski, a 6-foot 4-inch, 240-pound former honor student, was charged with second-degree murder Thursday in Vermont District Court for beating to death Atsuko Ikeda of Nagano, Japan.


Ikeda, 37, was studying for her master's degree at nearby St. Michael's College. She was planning to teach English as a second language and chose to study in Vermont because she believed it was a clean and safe place, according to her roommate, Robin Perez.

Sexton was ordered held without bail pending a competency evaluation at Vermont State Hospital in Waterbury, according to Friday's Burlington Free Press.

"Something came over me," Sexton told Winooski Police Sgt. Richard Benoit. "Demons. I don't know. I'm not like that."

On the morning of the tragedy, Sexton said he smoked marijuana to relax. Later in the early evening he said he killed his cat.

"I grabbed it and smashed it, I manhandled it, I love that cat," he told police.

Shortly afterward Sexton told police he was in his basement room when he saw someone riding a bicycle pass by. He said he ran out after the person. It was Ikeda whom he did not know.


He said he hit her at least 20 times, breaking his hand in two places. He then decided to step out in front of traffic on the nearby highway, but instead told police he wandered around and when a police cruiser approached, he lay on the ground.

Police said Sexton was barefoot and wore a white T-shirt and beige slacks that were covered with blood.

Sexton told police he could not remember what had happened and he thought the blood was his.

"Go ahead, just cuff me," Sexton said later, according to police. "I know I did something really bad, I'm just not sure what."

Sexton's parents told police they were frightened of their son, who had become a troubled youth.

During his first two years at Burlington High School they said he had excelled as an honor student. But then he changed, transferring to an alternative school, then dropping out during his senior year.

"He was totally so nice," a former classmate said of Sexton. "The nicest person you'd ever met but then he just totally changed."

Dr. Paul Morrow,chief medical examiner, said Ikeda's death was likely the result of the blunt trauma to her head. Three of her top front teeth were missing, said Murrow.


Ikeda's death occurred within 20 feet from the house where she rented a room. None of her neighbors said they heard a sound as Ikeda was being beaten to death.

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