Crime & Justice

Japan’s ‘Twitter killer’ sentenced to death for killing 9 people

Tokyo, Dec 15 (efe-epa).- A Japanese court on Tuesday handed down the death sentence to Takahiro Shiraishi, the serial murderer who killed and dismembered nine people in his apartment near Tokyo in 2017.

The convict, often referred to as the ‘Twitter killer’ in Japan, targeted his victims after they expressed suicidal thoughts online.

The court in Tokyo found him guilty of theft, murder, dismembering and storing the bodies of his victims in his apartment in Zama, south of the capital, according to Japanese news agency Kyodo News.

His victims, eight women and one man, between the ages of 15 and 26, were murdered between August and October 2017.

Presiding judge Noakuni Yano ruled that none of the victims had given their consent to be killed — one of the foremost points of contention in the proceedings —  and that Shiraishi was mentally fit to bear the responsibility of the crimes, following five months of psychiatric tests ahead of the trial, according to the news agency.

The defence said Shiraishi should not face the death penalty and called for the judge to apply the lesser charge of consensual homicide. They said the victims had given their tacit consent in messages shared before the killings.

Shiraishi confessed that his victims had resisted strangulation, according to the Kyodo report.

The case has shocked Japan and triggered a conversation about safety on social media.

It is the second death penalty handed down by a Japanese court in the space of a week.

On 12 December, a court in the southwest of the country sentenced a 41-year-old man to death for the 2018 murder of five people, including his grandmother and father.

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