45 year Old in Japan Sentenced to Death for killing 36 in Arson attack

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A 45 year old man Shinji Aoba has been sentenced to death for carrying out an arson attack on an anime studio in Kyoto, Japan that led to the death of 36 people.

According to Kyoto District Court, Aoba was convicted of murder and other crimes including arson and attempted murder. He faces five charges and prosecutors sought capital punishment.

Aoba’s Lawyers had argued that he was mentally ill and so that he should receive a lighter punishment, however the Japanese court stated that it found Aoba mentally capable to face punishment for the crimes he committed after recess in a two part session on Thursday.

Reports say that on July 18, 2019 the convict stormed Kyoto Animation’s No.1 studio and set it on fire leading to many victims said to have been poisoned to death by carbon monoxide while others died from severe burns and injuries.

Judge Keisuke Masuda says that the motive of the crime was revenge after thinking that the animation company had stolen his novels and led to the fall of his novelist career.

A Japanese national television NHK noted that Aoba had plotted another attack on a train station north of Tokyo a month before the arson attack.

The court said in the ruling that Aoba plotted these attacks after studying several criminal cases involving arson proving that he had premeditated the crimes and hence showing his mental capability.

Appearing before court in a wheel chair Aoba too was severely burned and hospitalised for 10 months before his arrest in 2020.

“The attack that instantly turned the studio into hell and took the precious lives of 36 people, caused them indescribable pain, Aoba, 45, was severely burned too and was hospitalized for 10 months before his arrest in May 2020, the judge noted as he spoke to the media.

This is one of Japan’s deadliest mass murders in 20 years, when 44 people were killed by an arson attack in 2001 after Tokyo’s Kabukicho entertainment district was set ablaze.

Reports indicate that Japan has been regularly conducting executions, with an average of 15 executions per year since they were resumed following a four-year suspension. In December 2019, three inmates were executed consecutively, and in 2018, a total of 15 people were executed, including 13 individuals from the Aum Shinrikyo cult, who were responsible for the 1995 sarin gas attack.

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