A Fukuoka common-law couple were sentenced to hang Wednesday for torturing and killing seven people who shared their dwelling between 1996 and 1998 in a case whose only evidence was the testimony provided by the accomplice and a woman who managed to escape the mayhem.

The Kokura branch of the Fukuoka District Court said Futoshi Matsunaga, 44, the mastermind, and his accomplice, Junko Ogata, 43, must hang for murdering five of Ogata's relatives, including two children, and the escapee's 34-year-old father.

The pair were also convicted of fatally injuring Ogata's father, but the court ruled they had not intended to kill him.