A Japanese man nicknamed “the Twitter killer” was sentenced to death on Tuesday by a Tokyo court for the murder and dismemberment of nine people he met online.
Takahiro Shiraishi, 30, admitted killing and massacring his young victims – all but one female – whom he met on the social media platform.
His lawyers had argued that he should have received a prison sentence because his victims, aged between 15 and 26, had expressed suicidal thoughts on social media and therefore had consented to death.
But on Tuesday “the death sentence was handed down” in Shiraishi, a court official told AFP.
“None of the nine victims agreed to be killed, including silent consent,” the judge said, according to public broadcaster NHK.
“It is extremely serious that the lives of nine young people have been taken away. The dignity of the victims has been trampled on,” added the judge.
NHK said 435 people showed up to see the verdict, even though the court only had 16 seats available to the public.
Shiraishi used Twitter to contact users who wrote about taking his own life, telling them he could help them in their plans or even die with 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. This pain will never go away. Return her to me!” He said.
Japan is one of the few developed nations to maintain the death penalty and public support for it remains high.
Years usually 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.
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