• Kyodo


The man suspected of murdering five people and torching two homes in a remote mountain community in Yamaguchi Prefecture told police he used a wooden stick to kill them, police said Sunday.

Kosei Homi, 63, who was turned over to prosecutors on Saturday, was taken into custody five days after the bodies of a woman and a couple, all in their 70s, were found in their fire-gutted houses in a hamlet under the administration of the city of Shunan. The bodies of two other seniors were discovered in their intact homes the next morning.

The police had been searching for weapons that Homi might have used in the slayings and other evidence in the mountains where Homi was found, but halted the search Sunday due to the heavy rain. The police hope to resume the search on Monday.

Homi reportedly said: “I used a wooden stick to kill and threw the stick away after that,” according to investigators.

When Homi was handed over to the prosecutors on Saturday, he did not look up and appeared to have scratches on his face, apparently from his time wandering in the mountainous area. He was dressed in a dark blue shirt and beige pants.

The police plan to interview residents in the remote community of Shunan.Autopsies of the five murder victims reveal they were killed instantly with several hard blows from a blunt object. Two of the five had several bodily wounds and broken bones.

According to Homi’s acquaintances, he had gotten into a dispute with other members of the tiny community.

The bodies of Makoto Sadamori, 71, and his wife, Kiyoko, 72, and that of Miyako Yamamoto, 79, were found in their homes, which had been gutted. The two houses, about 80 meters apart, both started to burn at around 9 p.m. Sunday. Homi lived next door to Yamamoto.

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