National / Crime & Legal

Nagoya High Court upholds life sentence for ax-wielding strangler who ‘wanted to see people die’

Kyodo

The Nagoya High Court on Friday upheld a lower court ruling that sentenced a 22-year-old former Nagoya University student to life in prison for the 2014 murder of an elderly woman and attempts two years earlier to kill two of her classmates.

The court said the former student can be held liable for the crimes, dismissing her defense counsel’s view that she was not mentally competent to assume criminal responsibility.

At her first trial at a district court, she said she had “wanted to see the process of people dying” and that “even now I still get the urge to kill,” although she also said she wanted to become someone who does not kill.

The woman, whose name is being withheld because she was a minor at the time of the crimes, was not present for the high court ruling.

The Nagoya District Court in March 2017 found her mentally competent and convicted her of killing Tomoko Mori, 77, by striking her with an ax and strangling her with a scarf on Dec. 7, 2014.

She was also convicted of trying to kill a former junior high school classmate and a high school classmate by poisoning them with thallium sometime between May and July of 2012 in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture.

The defense counsel said during the appeal hearing that the woman has a serious mental illness, including bipolar disorder and developmental disorder, and cannot be held responsible for what she did. The prosecutors argued that the disorders had limited influence on her crimes.

Both the prosecutors and a family court have conducted psychiatric examinations of the woman and concluded she was mentally competent.