Man admits killing four people over period of nine months

Kyodo

A 27-year-old unemployed man has confessed to being involved in four murders in Nagano and Aichi prefectures since January, investigative sources said Saturday.

Shojiro Nishimoto was served a warrant Friday on suspicion of stabbing Aiko Kimura, 74, to death at her home in Takamori, Nagano Prefecture, on Sept. 7 and stealing a handbag containing 6,000 yen in cash, according to police.

Kimura died of blood loss after being stabbed several times in the chest, police said. She lived alone.

Nishimoto has also admitted to murdering Jitsue Shimanaka, 77, in the city of Iida, near Takamori, in April, and Masashi Kato, 69, in Takamori in August, according to the sources.

The homes of the three victims were relatively close to each other.

Shimanaka was found strangled in her living room, and Kato was found dead at the entrance to his house with stab wounds to his chest.

Nishimoto has also allegedly confessed to being involved in the murder of Yasuo Minato, a 59-year-old taxi driver, in Nagoya in January.

Minato was found dead in his taxi with a slashed neck, and the fare money was missing, according to police.

They said investigators from the Nagano and Aichi prefectural police are working together to search for more evidence to verify Nishimoto’s confession.

On Monday afternoon, Nishimoto allegedly broke into the house of a company worker in Iida but escaped without taking anything. Later in the day, he was arrested by local police on suspicion of breaking and entering as well as an attempted burglary.

After police questioned him on whether he was involved in other burglaries, Nishimoto confessed to murdering Kimura and said he buried the knife and the victim’s handbag in a mountain forest in Iida.

Following the discovery of the weapon and the handbag based on his confession, police served him with a fresh warrant for murder and robbery.

Nishimoto, who has no fixed address, was once a construction worker and lodged near construction sites in Iida and Takamori.

In recent months, he had no money to pay rent and was sleeping in his car, police said, theorizing this was the motive for his alleged crimes.