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The Mito District Court on Wednesday sentenced a 36-year-old man to death for murdering his wife and five children at the family’s apartment in the city of Hitachi, Ibaraki Prefecture, in 2017.

The death sentence for the man, Hirobumi Komatsu, had been requested by public prosecutors.

According to the indictment, Komatsu stabbed his wife, then 33, their eldest daughter and son, then 11 and 7, respectively, and the three younger children with a kitchen knife at around 4:40 a.m. on Oct. 6, 2017. He then scattered gasoline around the apartment entrance and set it on fire.

In his lay judge trial, the main issue was whether he had capacity to take responsibility for his actions. The defense asked for acquittal or a reduced sentence, insisting that he was mentally incompetent or had only diminished capacity as he could barely eat and sleep at the time after being told by his wife of her wish to divorce.

Meanwhile, the prosecution claimed that the man was fully competent, noting that he prepared the knife in advance and committed the crime when his wife and children were asleep.

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