Updated: December 15, 2020 6:40:28 PM
A Japanese court on Tuesday convicted a man of killing and dismembering nine people, many of whom posted suicidal thoughts on social media, in a case that shocked the country.
The Tachikawa branch of the Tokyo District Court found Takahiro Shiraishi, known as the “Twitter killer”, guilty of killing, dismembering and preserving 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 bodies of eight females and one male in cold cases in his apartment.
Investigators said Shiraishi approached the victims via Twitter, offering to help them with their suicide desires. He killed the women, including teenagers, after raping them, and also killed a boyfriend of one of the women to silence him, investigators said.
On Twitter, Shiraishi used the name “Pendulum,” promising to help his victims die and inviting them to his residence.
Although his defense attorneys argued that he was helping the victims’ suicidal desires,
Shiraishi later said he killed them without their consent.
In the verdict, presiding judge Naokuni Yano said none of the victims had agreed to kill and that Shiraishi was fully responsible for their deaths, according to media reports.
He said the crime is extremely heinous and has caused fear and concern in a society where social media has become an indispensable part of daily life, public television NHK reported.
Japan’s suicide rate is among the highest in the world. After a recent decline, the number has climbed this year as people have been hit by the effects of the pandemic.
Japan’s crime rate is relatively low, but it has experienced some recent high-profile killings. In July 2016, a former employee of a home for the disabled allegedly killed 19 residents and injured more than 20 others.
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