‘Twitter Killer’ sentenced to death

Takahiro Shiraishi,, 29, pleaded guilty Wednesday to killing and dismembering 9 people in his apartment outside Tokyo, Japan.

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It took approximately 80 minutes for Judge Naokuni Yano to read the judgment against 30-year-old Takahiro Shiraishi, also known as the "Twitter Killer" on Tuesday, December 15.

 

In October, Shiraishi had pleaded guilty to the charges against him relating to the death and dismemberment of nine individuals between the ages of 15 and 26 in his Zana city apartment between August and October 2017.

 

His defense attempted to argue for conviction on lesser charges due to either the possibility of mental incompetency or diminished capacity despite Shiraishi being found competent and criminally liable after five months of psychiatric evaluation in 2018.

 

Defense also argued that their client should be convicted on the lesser charge than murder, arguing that Shiraishi had "consent" from the individuals he had met over Twitter as they had expressed suicidal thoughts.

 

Judge Yano however, found no such consent to the drugging, sexual assault, murder, and dismemberment of the victims.

 

"None of the victims agreed to be killed. The defendant was found to be fully responsible," Yano stated in his judgment according to The Straits Times. "All the murders were well planned and the modus operandi makes it one of the most malicious murders ever in the history of crime. It caused massive shock and anxiety to a society where the use of social media is commonplace."

 

Shiraishi stated that he would not appeal the death sentence.  According to DW, years often pass between sentencing and the execution which is carried out by hanging in Japan.

 

When given the opportunity to speak during his trial, Shiraishi addressed some of the family that had chosen to speak saying, "I am sorry for having killed some of the victims, with whom I spent a lot of time, and would like to apologize to those families." The Straits Times indicated though, that he would not look the family members in the eyes.

 

He continued saying, "But for the others, I don't really feel a deep sense of regret. In any case, I am sorry only because I failed when I got caught. If I wasn't arrested, I will not be regretting anything."

 

"There is no doubt that I sliced up the bodies in my bathroom with the intention of destroying evidence," Shiraishi was quoted as telling investigators. "I disposed of their flesh and internal organs like garbage."

 

Japan is known for having high rates of suicide, but in November, Japan made headlines for more people dying from suicide alone during the month of October than all deaths attributed to Covid to date in 2020.

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