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Twitter killer: Japan sentences man to death for serial murders

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Posted at 9:20 AM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 11:20:51-05

TOKYO — A Japanese court has sentenced a man to death for killing and dismembering nine people, most of whom had posted suicidal thoughts on social media, in a case that shocked the country.

The court found Takahiro Shiraishi, known as the “Twitter killer,” guilty of killing, dismembering and storing the bodies of the victims in his apartment near Tokyo.

Shiraishi pleaded guilty and said he would not appeal his death sentence.

Police arrested him in 2017 after finding the bodies of eight females and one male in cold-storage cases in his apartment.

According to investigators, Shiraishi preyed upon victims who expressed suicidal thoughts on Twitter. Interacting under the name "Hangman" Shiraishi offered to assist those social media users in carrying out their suicidal wishes and invited them to his apartment.

According to the Associated Press, Shiraishi killed women after raping them. The one male victim he killed was the boyfriend of one of the women, who investigators suspect he killed in order to silence him.

Shiraishi has since admitted that although they expressed suicidal thoughts, he killed his victims without their consent.

The presiding judge said the crime was extremely heinous and caused fear and concern in a society where social media have become an indispensable part of everyday life.