The counsel for convicted serial killer Tsutomu Miyazaki did not dispute allegations that he murdered four girls in Tokyo and Saitama prefectures in the late 1980s, but they claim he was insane at the time. The lawyers made the claim in their opening statement Wednesday of the appellant trial before the Tokyo High Court for Tsutomu Miyazaki, who was convicted of abducting and murdering 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 counsel asked the court to conduct a psychiatric test on the 37-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 and adopted the third. Miyazaki kidnapped four girls and killed them in different places around Tokyo and Saitama, the court ruled. He kidnapped a 4-year-old girl and strangled her in a Tokyo forest in August 1988, and 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 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 Jan. 27.

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