Updated: December 15, 2020, 6:40:28 pm
A Japanese court sentenced a man to death Tuesday for killing and dismembering nine people, most of whom posted suicidal thoughts on social media, in a case that shocked the country.
The Tokyo District Court’s Tachikawa Division found Takahiro Shiraishi, known as the “Twitter murderer”, guilty of killing, dismembering and storing the bodies of the victims in his apartment in Zama, near Tokyo. Shiraishi, 30, pleaded guilty and said he would not appeal his death sentence.
Police arrested Shiraishi in 2017 after finding the bodies of eight women and one man in cold storage rooms at his home.
Investigators said Shiraishi reached out to victims on Twitter and offered to help them with their suicidal wishes. He killed the women, including teenagers, after raping them and also killed a friend of one of the women to silence him, investigators said.
Shiraishi used the name “hangman” on Twitter to help his victims die and to invite them to his apartment.
Although his defense lawyers argued that he supported the victims’ suicidal wishes,
Shiraishi later said he killed her without her consent.
In the verdict, presiding judge Naokuni Yano said none of the victims consented to be killed and that Shiraishi was fully responsible for their deaths, according to media reports.
He said the crime was extremely heinous and created fear and concern in a society where social media has become an indispensable part of everyday life, NHK public television reported.
Japan’s suicide rate is among the highest in the world. After a recent decline, the number has risen again this year as people have been hit by the effects of the pandemic.
Japan’s crime rate is relatively low, but some high profile murders have occurred recently. In July 2016, a former employee of a home for the disabled is said to have killed 19 residents and injured more than 20 others.
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