Japanese ‘Twitter killer’ sentenced to death for murdering nine people

Takahiro Shiraishi, 30, was convicted of murder, rape, mutilation and storage of the bodies of the nine victims in his apartment in Zama, Kanagawa prefecture, on the outskirts of Tokyo, the court said.

Shiraishi was arrested in October 2017 after police searched his home to investigate the disappearance of a 23-year-old woman who posted suicide messages on social media, including Twitter.

Three cool boxes and five containers were found in Shiraishi’s room, according to TV Asahi, with human heads and bones scraped off with flesh, according to TV Asahi, citing police sources.

The nine victims – eight women and one man – were between the ages of 15 and 26, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK and CNN partner TV Asahi, both citing the legal proceedings.

The victims had posted online that they wanted to commit suicide, and were then approached by Shiraishi through social media platforms, NHK and TV Asahi reported.

This court sketch, taken on September 30, 2020, shows Takahiro Shiraishi at the first trial at the Tokyo District Court Tachikawa Branch in Tachikawa, Tokyo.

Using a handle that roughly translates to ‘executioner’, Shiraishi invited them to his apartment in Zama and promised to help them die, the Jiji news agency reported, citing the charges.

Shiraishi pleaded guilty to murdering the victims and said in court that he killed them to satisfy his sexual desire, NHK and TV Asahi reported.

NHK added that Shiraishi has no intention of appealing the verdict and will be on death row until Japan’s Justice Minister signs the execution warrant.

In Japan, the death penalty is carried out by hanging, with the dates of execution not made public until after the sentence has been executed.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

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