• Kyodo

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Defense lawyers representing a 48-year-old man who pleaded guilty Friday to killing seven people and wounding another in Kakogawa, Hyogo Prefecture, in August, have asked the court to sanction psychiatric tests for their client.

In the opening session of Yasukata Fujishiro’s trial at the Kobe District Court, the defendant’s lawyers argued that he was either insane or in a state of reduced mental competence at the time of the crime.

Fujishiro stands accused of killing the seven victims, all related to him and nearby neighbors, including his aunt, Toshiko Fujishiro, in the early hours of Aug. 2, 2004. He either bludgeoned his victims with a hammer or stabbed them with a knife.

He then set his own house on fire before being arrested later in the day.

In their opening statement, prosecutors said Fujishiro had harbored a hatred of Toshiko since childhood “because he felt that his own family was being looked down on” by his aunt.

That hatred reportedly developed into an actual intent to kill in summer 2000, when the defendant felt he had been slighted by his aunt when he protested to her about the barking of her family’s dog.

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