Japan's 'Twitter Killer' Sentenced To Death After Confessing To Murdering 9 People

It’s not going to end well for Japan’s “Twitter killer.”

On Tuesday, Takahiro Shiraishi was sentenced to death after pleading guilty to murdering and dismembering nine people — eight women and one man — in a blockbuster mass murder case in 2017. According to the Tokyo District Court Tachikawa branch, the 30-year-old was convicted of murdering, raping, dismembering, and storing the nine victims’ bodies in his apartment in Zama, on the outskirts of Tokyo.

Shiraishi was arrested in October 2017 after officials searched his home while investigating the disappearance of a 23-year-old woman who expressed wanting to commit suicide on Twitter. The woman’s brother accessed her Twitter account and told police about a suspicious handle, leading them to Shiraishi’s apartment on the morning of October 31, 2017. Japanese news outlets called it the “house of horrors” after cops found three cooler boxes and five containers in the suspect’s room, which reportedly contained human heads and bones with the flesh scraped off.

The mass killings sparked debate in Japan about how suicide is discussed online, since all the victims had posted on social media that they wanted to kill themselves. According to local media outlets, all victims were subsequently contacted by Shiraishi through social media platforms, on which he used a handle that loosely translates to “hangman.”

Per an indictment, Shiraishi strangled and dismembered his victims, who were between 15 and 26 years old, between August and October 2017. Apparently, he invited them over to his apartment in Zama, promising to help them die; in some cases, he allegedly claimed he would kill himself alongside them.

During the trial, Shiraishi’s lawyers argued he was instead guilty of “murder with consent,” alleging that his victims had given their permission to be killed. But Shiraishi ultimately disputed his own legal team’s case, admitting that he killed the victims without their consent and that he had killed them to satisfy his sexual desire.

Judge Naokuni Yano called the crimes “cunning and cruel” while delivering the verdict on Tuesday, saying he found the defendant “fully responsible” for his actions. The judge said:

“None of the nine victims consented to be killed, including silent consent. It is extremely grave that the lives of nine young people were taken away. The dignity of the victims was trampled upon.”

Shiraishi does not reportedly plan on appealing the verdict and will be on death row until Japan’s justice minister signs the execution order.

In Japan, the death penalty is executed by hanging. Death row inmates aren’t told when they will be put to death until the day of their execution, while execution dates aren’t made public until after the penalty is carried out.

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