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Girl held in Sasebo slaying faces psychiatric tests during probe

Kyodo

The Sasebo branch of the Nagasaki District Public Prosecutor’s Office on Monday moved the 16-year-old girl being held for killing her classmate and dismembering her body to a medical facility for psychiatric tests.

According to investigators, the girl, whose identity has been withheld because she is a minor, will be placed in the facility for three months through Nov. 10.

In cases involving minors, psychiatric tests are usually conducted after the suspect is sent to a family court. This time, however, prosecutors asked for psychiatric tests to be held at the investigative stage.

The prefectural police said the girl has a history of troubled behavior, including poisoning the school lunch of a classmate when she was in the sixth grade. She assaulted her father with a metal baseball mat and injured him in March, and she has also been revealed to have kept the severed head of a cat in the refrigerator of an apartment where she lived alone.

She has told investigators that she “harbored a desire to kill a human being” and she “held no grudge”against the slain classmate, 15-year-old Aiwa Matsuo.

Based on the results of the psychiatric tests, the prosecutors will determine whether the suspect is mentally fit enough to be held criminally liable. Afterward, the accused will either be sent to prosecutors for a criminal trial or be sent to a juvenile reformatory, investigative sources said.