JAPAN: EX-WORKER SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR KILLING 3 AT NURSING HOME
March 22, 2018:
A court sentenced a 25-year-old man to death for killing three elderly residents at a nursing home he was working for in Kawasaki, near Tokyo, in 2014. (Sources: Kyodo, 22/03/2018)
The Yokohama District Court found Hayato Imai guilty of murdering Tamio Ushizawa, 87, Chieko Nakagawa, 86, and Nobuko Asami, 96, by throwing them off balconies of the facility in the city in Kanagawa Prefecture.
Imai had pleaded not guilty, saying he made false statements to escape police pressure during interrogations, but Presiding Judge Hidetaka Watanabe said that "there was no leading by police officers and the explanations were rational" and his initial confession was "highly credible."
The prosecutors sought the death penalty, saying what he told investigators matched the crime scene and his confession was not imaginary but based on actual experience and memories.
The defense team called for Imai to be acquitted, saying it was possible the victims' deaths may have been suicide.
Ushizawa died after falling from a balcony of the facility in November 2014, and Nakagawa and Asami died likewise on two separate occasions the following month.
Police initially overlooked that the deaths occurred in a series at the same facility, and suspicions over the deaths only arose in September 2015, resulting in Imai's arrest on Feb. 15, 2016. Imai had been the sole person working night shifts when the three died.
The police quoted Imai as saying during initial interrogations that he murdered the three as he felt taking care of them was "troublesome." But he turned silent three days after he was arrested on suspicion of murder. Imai was hired at the facility in the spring of 2014.