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SENDAI (Kyodo) The Sendai High Court on Wednesday upheld a life sentence for a male nurse convicted of killing a patient and attempting to kill four others at a clinic in Sendai in 2000 by injecting them with muscle relaxant.

Daisuke Mori, 34, has pleaded not guilty, with his defense team claiming the patients’ conditions worsened due to illness and factors other than the muscle relaxant. He immediately appealed the ruling.

His lawyers argued that the patients would have not developed the kind of symptoms they suffered even if muscle relaxant had been administered to them. They also said Mori’s confession, taken immediately after his arrest, was induced by investigators.

However, presiding Judge Ryoichi Tanaka said it was difficult to believe that a situation where muscle relaxant was mistakenly administered intravenously in five cases at the same clinic within a short time was coincidental. “It is clear that someone had done this on purpose,” the judge said.

The court also noted that Mori had placed orders for various types of muscle relaxant, and had also attempted to hide empty ampuls that had been used.

Based on such facts, the judge said, “Mori is the culprit in all of the cases, and there is no mistake in the lower court ruling that recognized willful intent to kill.”

He also ruled that the confession could be trusted within certain boundaries.

The Sendai District Court sentenced Mori to life in March 2004, saying he had intended to kill and was the only one capable of administering the intravenous doses at the time of the crimes.

The court said he killed Yukiko Shimoyama, 89, and tried to murder four other patients, including a 1-year-old girl, at the now-defunct Hokuryo Clinic from February to November 2000.

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