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Japan’s 'Twitter Killer' Sentenced to Death

Takahiro Shiraishi covers his face inside a police car in Tokyo, in this photo taken by Kyodo November 2017 and released by Kyodo, Dec. 15, 2020.

A Tokyo district court Tuesday sentenced to death the man who became known as the “Twitter killer” as he used the social media platform to find and contact his nine victims, in case that shocked Japan.

Police arrested 30-year-old Takahiro Shiraishi in 2017 after finding the bodies of eight females and one male in cold-storage cases in his apartment in Zama, just outside Tokyo.

Investigators say Shiraishi, using the name “Hangman,” reached out to people he encountered on Twitter who expressed suicidal thoughts. He would lure them back to his apartment where he strangled and dismembered them. He is also alleged to have sexually assaulted his female victims.

In court, lawyers for Shiraishi argued against the death penalty, saying all his victims wished to die. They also argued Shirashi was not mentally competent when he committed the murders. But, in his ruling, presiding Judge Naokuni Yano responded that none of the victims consented to being murdered.

Shiraishi had said he would not appeal the death sentence. In Japan, the sentence is carried out by hanging.

The Japanese Times reports the case stunned many in Japan and prompted the central government and social media companies to provide support for young people in emotional distress.