MITO, Ibaraki Pref. (Kyodo) A man indicted for a stabbing spree that left two people dead and seven wounded pleaded guilty Friday at the start of his Mito District Court trial.
Asked by the judge whether he challenged the indictment, Masahiro Kanagawa, 25, responded, “No, it’s OK.”
Kanagawa’s lawyers, however, challenged the prosecutors’ assertion that he was mentally competent at the time of the crimes, carried out last year in Tsuchiura, Ibaraki Prefecture, and thus should be held responsible for his actions.
The court granted the defense request to conduct a mental evaluation.
During his four-month detention for mental evaluation prior to his indictment, prosecutors determined Kanagawa was mentally competent, although suffering from narcissistic personality disorder.
The defense countered in court: “The defendant is suspected of suffering from some kind of mental disorder, possibly an early stage of schizophrenia.”
In its opening statement, the prosecution charged, “The defendant, Kanagawa, became sick of his work and committed crimes in order to die by execution.”
Kanagawa stands accused of fatally stabbing Yoshikazu Miura, 72, near the entrance of the victim’s home in Tsuchiura on March 19, 2008.
On March 23, while on a wanted list, Kanagawa went on a stabbing spree at Arakawaoki Station on East Japan Railway Co.’s Joban Line in the same city, leaving 27-year-old Takahiro Yamakami dead and seven other people wounded, some seriously.
Kanagawa turned himself in to police and was arrested and indicted for murder and attempted murder.
He owned up to the allegations and said during an interview at the Mito detention center, “I wanted to go to a magic world after being executed.”
Kanagawa sent an e-mail to his mother on March 21 last year, two days after stabbing the first victim to death, hinting he had killed a man and was going on a killing spree.
Then he called police from his mobile phone the next day and challenged them to catch him, according to the indictment.
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