A Japanese man known as a “Twitter killer” was sentenced to death by a Tokyo court on Tuesday for murdering and dismembering nine people he met online.
30-year-old Takahiro Shiraishi admitted to killing and slaughtering his young victims – all but one of whom were women – whom he met on the social media platform.
His lawyers had argued that he should be given a jail term for having victims, between the ages of 15 and 26, expressing suicidal thoughts on social media and consenting to death.
But on Tuesday, “Shiraishi was sentenced to death,” a court official told AFP.
“None of the nine victims agreed to be killed, including the tacit consent,” said the judge, according to the public broadcaster NHK.
“It is extremely serious that the lives of nine young people were taken. The dignity of the victims was trampled underfoot,” added the judge.
According to the NHK, 435 people came to watch the verdict, even though the court only had 16 seats available to the public.
Shiraishi used Twitter to reach out to users who wrote about their own lives and tell them he could help them with their plans – or even die next to them.
The father of a 25-year-old victim said in court last month that he “will never forgive Shiraishi even if he dies,” NHK reported at the time.
“Even now, when I see a woman my daughter’s age, I mistake her for my daughter. That pain will never go away. Give her back to me!” he said.
Japan is one of the few developed nations to maintain the death penalty and public support for it remains high.
Usually years pass between sentencing and execution, and the last execution was in December 2019 when a Chinese man was hanged for the murder of a family of four.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)