Takahiro Shiraishi was given the death penalty by a Japanese court on Tuesday. Dubbed “Twitter killer”, he was found guilty for the murder of nine people, some of whom were minors.
Shiraishi, now 30, used micro-blogging platform Twitter in 2017 to lure the women, who shared on social media that they wanted to kill themselves. Shiraishi told them he could help them do so, and even die alongside them.
His Twitter profile included the words: “I want to help people who are really in pain. Please DM me anytime.”
When the women met with Takahiro Shiraishi in his apartment, he strangled them, dismembered their bodies and stored the body parts throughout his apartment. The youngest was 15 and the oldest victim was 26.
He killed one man to conceal the death of his first victim.
“None of the nine victims consented to be killed, including by silent consent,” said the judge, Naokuni Yano, according to the public broadcaster NHK.
“It is extremely grave that the lives of nine young people were taken away. The dignity of the victims was trampled upon.”
Takahiro Shiraishi spent five months undergoing psychiatric tests before he was indicted in 2018.
During his trial, Shiraishi’s defense team asked for a lesser sentence because he helped the victims, who had said they wanted to die. But Shiraishi himself said the women did not give their consent to be killed.
During the trial, he said, “It was easier for me to convince people with worries and other issues and manipulate them to my way of thinking.”
News of the shocking crime pushed Twitter to roll out new rules against promoting or encouraging suicide and social harm on the site. It also led Japan’s government to expand telephone and online suicide hotlines to give support.
Japan has resisted international pressure to abolish death penalty. The East Asian country regularly executes prisoners. Both the prisoner and their family are not informed of the execution’s exact date. The offender is only notified on the morning of his execution.
In 2019, Japan had three executions, according to Amnesty International.