• Kyodo

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A 21-year-old former Nagoya University student was sentenced Friday to life in prison for the 2014 murder of an elderly woman and attempts to kill a boy and girl while she was in high school.

In handing down the ruling sought by prosecutors, the Nagoya District Court said the woman was mentally competent, given that she was deemed to have acted on her own will when she committed the crimes.

The defense called for a not-guilty verdict, claiming her developmental and bipolar disorders made her incapable of judging right from wrong and controlled her behavior.

In seeking a life term, prosecutors claimed the symptoms of her bipolar disorder were not severe enough at the time but acknowledged she was suffering from mental and developmental disorders.

According to the ruling, the woman, who was 19 at the time and whose name is being withheld as she was a minor, murdered Tomoko Mori, 77, in her apartment in Nagoya in December 2014.

She was also convicted of trying to kill a female classmate in junior high school and a male classmate in high school sometime between May and July in 2015 in Sendai by poisoning them with thallium.

Regarding the poisoning, the court acknowledged that she had an intention, albeit a weak one, to kill the boy and girl on the grounds she had recognized the possibility that poisoning could kill them.

She was also found guilty of attempting to kill a resident in Sendai by setting fire to the person’s house.

In the trial, she had said she wanted to watch a person die and observe the symptoms of poisoning.

Three doctors involved in her mental evaluation provided split opinions on whether she could be held responsible for her actions, while all three determined she had a developmental disorder that made it difficult for her to understand other people’s feelings, as well as a bipolar disorder.

The defense also called for her indictment to be dismissed on the grounds the decision by a family court to send her case back to the prosecutors violated the principle of a law protecting the rights of minors.

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