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Japan

She wanted to watch someone die: life sentence upheld for Japanese student who killed elder with axe

The killer, who was 19 when she hacked and strangled Tomoko Mori to death, had previously tried to poison two school classmates

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 March, 2018, 1:14pm
UPDATED : Friday, 23 March, 2018, 1:14pm

A Japanese high court has upheld a lower-court ruling that sentenced a 22-year-old former student of Nagoya University to life in prison for the 2014 murder of an elderly woman and attempts two years earlier to kill two of her school classmates.

The Nagoya High Court on Friday said the former student can be held liable for the crimes, dismissing her defence counsel’s view that she was not mentally competent.

At her first trial at a district court, the ex-student said she had “wanted to see the process of people dying” and that “even now I still get the urge to kill,” although she also said she wanted to become someone who does not kill.

The former student, whose name is withheld because she was a minor at the time of the crimes, was not present for the ruling by the high court.

The Nagoya District Court ruling in March 2017 found her mentally competent and convicted her of killing acquaintance Tomoko Mori, 77, by striking her with an axe and strangling her with a scarf at the former student’s home on December 7, 2014.

She was also convicted of trying to kill a female classmate in junior high school and a male classmate in senior high school by poisoning them with thallium sometime between May and July in 2012 in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture.

The defence counsel said during the appeal court hearing that the former student suffers from a serious mental illness including bipolar disorder and cannot be held responsible for what she did. The prosecutors argued the disorders had limited influence on her crimes.

Both the prosecutors and a family court have conducted psychiatric examinations of the former student and concluded she was mentally competent.