TOKYO: A Japanese court on Tuesday sentenced a man to death for killing and dismembering nine people, most of whom had posted suicidal thoughts on social media, in a case that shocked the country.
Tokyo Court’s Tachikawa branch found Takahiro Shiraishi, known as “Twitter killer, “guilty of killing, dismantling and storing the bodies of the victims in his apartment in Soup, 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 a man in cold storage in his apartment.
Investigators said Shiraishi approached the victims via Twitter, offering to help them with their suicidal desires. He killed women, including teenagers, after raping them and also killed a boyfriend of one of the women to silence her, investigators said.
On Twitter, Shiraishi used the name “Hanged”, promising to help his victims die and inviting them to his apartment.
Although his defense attorneys claimed he assisted in the victims’ suicidal desires, Shiraishi later said he killed them without their consent.
In the judgment, the presiding judge Naokuni Yano said none of the victims agreed to be killed and that Shiraishi was fully responsible for their deaths, according to media reports.
He said the crime was extremely heinous and caused 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 back this year as people have been affected by the effects of the pandemic.
The Japanese crime rate is relatively low, but it has experienced some recent crimes. In July 2016, a former employee of a home for people with disabilities allegedly killed 19 residents and injured more than 20 people.