Print shop worker Tsutomu Miyazaki, 34, was sentenced to death April 14 for the abduction and murder of four girls in Tokyo and Saitama prefectures in 1988 and 1989 in a serial killing spree that shocked the nation.

After a seven-year trial that mainly focused on the culpability of the defendant, the Tokyo District Court found Miyazaki guilty of slaying the four girls, who were aged between 4 and 7.

Despite conflicting reports by court-appointed psychiatrists on the defendant's mental state, presiding Judge Kenjiro Tao ruled that Miyazaki was of sound mind at the time of the murders. Standing before the judge in a navy blue suit and white shirt, Miyazaki showed no outward reaction when he was sentenced to the gallows. His defense lawyers immediately filed an appeal with a higher court.