‘Twitter killer’ sentenced to death for serial murders

Brutal slayings shocked Japan 3 years ago

A man known as the “Twitter killer,” who admitted to dismembering nine people in Japan after they posted suicidal thoughts on social media, has been sentenced to death for his crimes, according to reports.

A Tokyo District Court condemned 30-year-old Takahiro Shiraishi to death Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to the notorious slayings that shocked the country three years ago, The Associated Press reported.

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Authorities said Shiraishi used the name “Hangman” on Twitter, where he would invite unwitting acquaintances to his apartment, promising to assist with their suicide plans.

Some of the victims were teenagers.

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Shiraishi was apprehended in 2017 after police raided his apartment in Zama, near Tokyo. There, authorities stepped into a macabre scene where the bodies of eight women and a man were dismembered and stored in cold-storage cases, reports said.

He killed the women after raping them and also killed a boyfriend of one of the women to silence him, investigators said.

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Defense attorneys initially argued that Shiraishi had only assisted the victims in fulfilling their inevitable death wishes, but the presiding Judge Naokuni Yano ruled that none of the victims agreed to be killed and that Shiraishi was fully responsible for their deaths, according to reports.

On Tuesday, Shiraishi admitted to killing the victims without their consent and then said he would not appeal his sentence.

Japan’s suicide rate ranks among the world’s highest. Following a recent decline, the number has climbed back this year as people were hit by the effects of the pandemic.