• Kyodo

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Defense lawyers representing a 34-year-old man accused of stabbing a 11-month-old baby to death at a supermarket in Aichi Prefecture in February argued Thursday that their client should be acquitted, claiming he was insane at the time of the crime.

Katsunao Ujiie, an unemployed man with no fixed address, did not enter a plea at the opening session of his trial at the Nagoya District Court, stating only that he had “left everything up to lawyers.”

His lawyers then told the court that Ujiie should be judged innocent because he was mentally incompetent when he stabbed Shoma Aoyama to death with a knife at the Ito-Yokado store in Anjo on Feb. 4.

Ujiie is also accused of injuring the boy’s 3-year-old sister and a 24-year-old woman who was near the scene. Aoyama and his sister were visiting the store with their mother from the neighboring city of Okazaki.

Ujiie reportedly told investigators after his arrest that he had been hearing words such as “kill yourself” and “kill someone” in his head before embarking on the rampage.

According to the indictment, Ujiie stole a knife from the store and attacked the baby several minutes later. He fled the scene on a bicycle, but was arrested by police shortly afterward on a street about 1 km away.

He has reportedly confessed to investigators that he killed the baby.

Eight days before the incident, Ujiie had been released on parole from a prison in Toyohashi, also in Aichi Prefecture, where he had been serving time for theft and other crimes.

He then disappeared from a rehabilitation facility designed to help parolees return to regular life and find jobs.

The Nagoya District Public Prosecutor’s Office indicted Ujiie for the murder and the assaults after putting him through a summary psychiatric test, which showed he was mentally competent to stand trial.

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