• Kyodo


Lawyers representing a former insurance saleswoman sentenced to hang for killing four people and sickening dozens of others by lacing curry served at a local festival with arsenic said Monday that their client will break her silence during her appellate trial.

Masumi Hayashi, 42, was sentenced to death by the Wakayama District Court in December 2002. She has appealed, with the first session in her appellate trial before the Osaka High Court scheduled for April 20.

Hayashi has thus far refused to testify before the court regarding the case.

Her lawyers, who have conducted interview sessions with their client since the district court ruling, decided around mid-October against questioning Hayashi in court.

Some of Hayashi’s attorneys maintained, however, that to overturn the death sentence, Hayashi would need to be questioned by them in court.

She consented to being questioned during the appellate trial after considering the matter at length, according to the lawyers.

“We hope that the death sentence can be overturned by having the defendant herself speak about all the crimes for which she has been convicted, including her actions on the day of the incident,” one lawyer said.

Hayashi was convicted of lacing curry served at a community festival in the city of Wakayama in July 1998.

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