The counsel for accused serial killer Tsutomu Miyazaki on Tuesday did not argue allegations that the defendant was involved in the murders of four girls in Tokyo and Saitama prefectures in the late 1980s but did claim he was insane at the time.
The lawyers made the claim in their opening statement of the appellant trial at the Tokyo High Court for Tsutomu Miyazaki, who allegedly abducted and murdered four girls between the ages of 4 and 7 in 1988 and 1989.
The Tokyo District Court sentenced Miyazaki to death in April 1997.
The newly appointed defense asked the court to conduct a psychiatric test on the 37-year-old former print shop worker, but the court did not say whether it would allow the test. Miyazaki’s lawyers will also question the credibility of police reports, arguing that investigative authorities might have forced him to confess.
Apparently bored with court proceedings, the defendant rested his chin on his left hand while drawing pictures on a piece of paper with his right during the session.
The lower court hearings focused on whether Miyazaki could be held responsible for the offenses and appointed three psychiatrists to conduct independent tests on him.
The results of two of the tests found that Miyazaki was mentally incompetent, but the third said he could stand trial for the charges against him.
The court rejected the first two results and adopted the third.
According to the lower court ruling, Miyazaki kidnapped four girls and killed them in different places around Tokyo and Saitama.
In one of the cases, he allegedly kidnapped a 4-year-old girl and strangled her in a Tokyo forest in August 1988.
He later burned the body, put her ashes in a cardboard box and placed the box outside the dead girl’s home, the court said.
In another case, he allegedly abducted a 5-year-old girl in Tokyo and strangled her in his car in June 1989.
He later mutilated her body and abandoned the parts in wooded areas around Tokyo and Saitama prefectures.
Lawyers and prosecutors will question Miyazaki in the next hearing on Jan. 27.
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