• Kyodo


The woman on death row for the 1998 fatal curry-poisoning case in Wakayama has told her lawyers she will continue to remain silent during her appeal trial, according to judicial sources.

The defense team for Masumi Hayashi, who was sentenced to death last December for killing four people by poisoning curry at a community summer festival, thus decided not to pose questions to her during the trial at the Osaka High Court expected to begin next spring.

Prosecutors are also not expected to question Hayashi, 42, as the Wakayama District Court in the original ruling accepted almost all of their arguments.

These developments mean several facets of the murders, including the motive, will likely remain a mystery, to the disappointment of the victims’ families.

Hayashi refused to speak in the first trial, including during two hours of questioning by prosecutors.

Four people, including two children, were killed and 63 others fell ill after eating curry laced with arsenic July 25, 1998, at the festival in the Sonobe district of Wakayama.

The Wakayama District Court sentenced Hayashi to death Dec. 11, despite a lack of direct evidence linking her to the murders.

In the upcoming appellant trial, Hayashi’s defense team plans to reiterate her innocence. The lawyers intend to argue the lower court was wrong to conclude that the arsenic in the curry matched arsenic found at Hayashi’s home or that no one else could have mixed it into the food.

The defense team is also expected to insist that it was inappropriate to rule the murder was deliberate when the motive remains unclear and that identifying the arsenic type without consulting the defense was a legal violation.

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