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Man Who Shot Japanese Student Doesn’t Want His Pistol Back

May 26, 1993 GMT

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) _ Rodney Peairs does not want the .44-caliber Magnum hunting pistol he used to kill a 16-year-old Japanese exchange student, although the judge is ready to return it.

″He does not want a gun,″ attorney Hillar Moore said Tuesday after Judge Mike Erwin said Peairs could have the pistol back. Peairs may turn the gun over to relatives or sell it, he said. ″I think his family should get the gun,″ Moore said.

Peairs also has rejected numerous offers of money for interviews and book or TV movie rights about Yoshihiro Hattori’s death, and will continue to turn down all such offers, his co-counsel, Lewis Unglseby, said today.

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″We will not accept any compensation or in any way, shape or form profit from this tragedy,″ Unglesby said. ″We’ve said that for however many months it’s been.″

Peairs, 31, was found innocent in the death of the 16-year-old exchange student who mistakenly knocked on Peairs’ door while looking for a Halloween party last Oct. 17. Peairs said he felt threatened, and a 12-member jury acquitted him of manslaughter.

Masaichi Hattori, 46, is investigating whether to file a civil suit against Peairs for his son’s death. Richard Haymaker, with whose family the boy was staying at the time of the shooting, said Hattori will announce his decision before he returns to Nagoya, Japan.

Unglesby said that over the past several months Peairs has been offered money for his exclusive story, Japanese media have offered to pay his legal fees in exchange for interviews, and he has been offered money just to negotiate for book and movie rights.

Peairs is not trying to keep the story from being reported, and his rejection of offers is not a permanent rejection of any possibility of interviews, Unglesby said.

In a related development Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Raymond Lamonica said there were no grounds to pursue a federal civil rights action in Hattori’s death. On Monday, the San Francisco-based Japanese American Citizens League had asked for such an action.