• Kyodo


A 20-year-old man who pleaded guilty to the murder of a beautician in Hokkaido last year wanted to replicate killings he had simulated in video games, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The man pleaded guilty in the Kushiro District Court to the murder of 31-year-old Erika Konno and the destruction of her body in August last year in Hokkaido’s Tokachi region. His name is being withheld because he was 19 — a minor — at the time of the incident.

The prosecutors said in their opening statement that he started taking an interest in death and dead bodies when he was in high school.

“He committed the crime after deciding that he wanted to kill someone with a knife the way he would in video games to see how he would change as a person,” they claimed.

They contended that although the defendant has a slight mental disability, he is fully capable of taking responsibility for his actions.

His lawyers argued that he had diminished mental capacity at the time of the crime, was unable to tell right from wrong and was severely restricted in his ability to control his actions.

The man, who lived in the same building as Konno, was indicted on charges of unlawfully entering her apartment through an unlocked door on the morning of Aug. 3, 2015, and stabbing her to death before setting fire to paper napkins beside her body, partially burning it.

The case is being tried before three professional judges and six lay judges. The court is set to rule on the case Nov. 29.

Last December, the Kushiro Family Court sent him for possible prosecution as an adult. The court determined at the time that he was unable to control his urge to kill someone and murdered the woman on impulse.

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