• Kyodo


A 29-year-old man got his wish Wednesday when he was sentenced to death for killing and robbing four people in Nagano and Aichi prefectures.

Shojiro Nishimoto had pleaded guilty during his trial at the Nagano District Court, saying he deserved the death penalty. Despite this, he appealed the sentence the same day. His lawyers had argued during the trial that capital punishment violates the Constitution.

“The criminal responsibility of the defendant is too serious,” presiding Judge Yasuyuki Tsuchiya said. “There is no alternative to capital punishment.”

The court convicted Nishimoto of fatally stabbing cab driver Yasuo Minato, 59, in his taxi in Kasugai, Aichi Prefecture, in January 2004.

From that April to September, he went on to strangle Jitsue Shimanaka, 77, and stab Masashi Kato, 69, and Aiko Kimura, 74, in their homes. All lived in Nagano Prefecture and all lived alone.

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