A convicted former Aum Shinrikyo follower testified Thursday that he had never seen cult founder Shoko Asahara inflict or order violence on his cultists as punishment until the 1994 killing of Kotaro Ochida.

In Asahara’s trial hearing at the Tokyo District Court, Michimaro Maruyama, 31, said he did not think Ochida would be killed when he brought him before the guru, saying he only sought instructions for punishing Ochida.

Cult members strangled Ochida to death in January 1994 after he and another follower, Hideaki Yasuda, were caught trying to break into the cult’s complex in Kamikuishiki, Yamanashi Prefecture, in an attempt to rescue Yasuda’s mother.

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