JAPAN: DEATH PENALTY FINALIZED FOR 2016 SAGAMIHARA CARE HOME MASS MURDERER
March 31, 2020:
The death sentence for a man who admitted to the 2016 mass murder of 19 mentally impaired people at a care home near Tokyo was finalized on 31 March 2020 after he withdrew his appeal the previous day. (Sources: Kyodo, 31/03/2020)
Satoshi Uematsu, 30, a former caretaker at the Tsukui Yamayuri En facility in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, injured another 26 people in the rampage, in what the Yokohama District Court called an unprecedented incident.
His defense counsel filed an appeal on 27 March. But Uematsu had told Kyodo News two days after the 16 March verdict that he would drop the appeal since it would be “wrong” to continue the trial at a higher court.
The deadline for his appeal was midnight 30 March.
Uematsu also said he expected to receive the death penalty but was “not convinced” that he deserved it.
He said during his trial that disabled people who are unable to communicate “create unhappiness in society.”
At the heart of the trial was whether Uematsu was mentally competent during the attack.
The district court ruled that he was, rejecting his defense counsel’s argument that he had been influenced by his marijuana use.
In handing down the ruling, the court said his work at the care facility, among other things, shaped his motivation.
“He believed he would be a pioneer and receive approval if he killed people with disabilities,” it said.