JAPAN: MAN GIVEN DEATH SENTENCE FOR 2018 MURDERS OF FIVE IN KAGOSHIMA
December 11, 2020:
A court on 11 December 2020 sentenced a 41-year-old man to death for murdering five people in 2018 at a home in the prefecture of Kagoshima. (Sources: Kyodo, 11/12/2020)
The Kagoshima District Court delivered the death sentence as sought by prosecutors on Tomohiro Iwakura after ruling he was mentally fit enough to be fully responsible for his crimes.
“The crimes were deviant and appalling. I cannot find any reason for not giving the death penalty,” presiding Judge Mitsuo Iwata said.
Iwakura’s defense team, which immediately filed an appeal, had sought life imprisonment claiming he could not be held accountable for his actions as he had diminished capacity due to a delusional disorder at the time of the murders.
But the presiding judge agreed with the prosecutors that the influence of the disorder was negligible, saying “the defendant’s actions were greatly influenced by his aggressive and extrapunitive personality.”
“Murdering five people is extremely serious, and I cannot sense (the defendant) felt any reluctance to kill people,” Iwata added.
According to the ruling, Iwakura strangled his grandmother Hisako, 89, and his father, Masatomo, 68, to death, between 31 March and 1 April at Hisako’s home in the city of Hioki, and disposed of their bodies in a mountainous area nearby.
Iwakura later also strangled one of his aunts — Takako Iwakura, 69, and her sister Kuniko Sakaguchi, 72 — as well as his neighbor Hiroyuki Goto, 47, when they came to check on Hisako on the afternoon of 6 April.
Points of contention during the trial included whether Iwakura had the intent to kill his grandmother and father and whether he killed his father in self-defense, but the court ruled in favor of the prosecutors in both cases.
Immediately after the ruling was handed down, Iwakura lunged at the prosecutors and had to be restrained by prison officers. The court adjourned, with Iwakura still shouting and struggling.