Death penalty commuted to life for man who fatally stabbed 2 people on Osaka street


The Osaka High Court on Thursday commuted the death penalty to life imprisonment for a man who stabbed two people to death on an Osaka street in 2012.

Lawyers for Kyozo Isohi, 41, had appealed the death sentence handed down by six lay and three professional judges at the Osaka District Court in June 2015.

Isohi stabbed Shingo Minamino, a 42-year-old man from Tokyo, and a 66-year-old local woman, Toshi Sasaki, in Osaka's Higashi-Shinsaibashi area, on June 10, 2012, Fuji TV reported. Isohi stabbed Minamino first, then ran about 40 meters and stabbed Sasaki. He went back to the fallen Minamino and stabbed him again.

Isohi, who said he had been having auditory hallucinations with a voice telling him to "stab," underwent two psychiatric evaluations after his arrest and was judged mentally competent to stand trial.

He had been released from a prison in Niigata Prefecture two weeks before the attacks after serving time for assault and possession of stimulants. After his arrest for the Osaka killings, he was quoted as telling police during his interrogation that he was frustrated at having no home and no job prospects, and that he didn't want to live anymore. He said he chose his victims that day on impulse and at random. He said he wanted to kill anyone so he would be sentenced to death.

The only remarks Isohi made during his trial were at the opening session when he said he knew he can't undo what he has done and that no matter how many times he apologizes, he understands that the families of the victims will never forgive him.

The case gained extra notoriety when Osaka Gov Ichiro Matsui said at a press conference shortly after Isohi's arrest that if he wanted to die, there were many ways he could have done it away from the spotlight, and that he did not have to take other people's lives.

In commuting the death sentence, Osaka High Court Presiding Judge Hiroyuki Nakagawa said there was no way to gauge what effects Isohi's auditory hallucinations had on his actions. The judge also said that the murders were not planned in advance, which made the crimes different from other cases of random killings that resulted in the death penalty being handed down.

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A pity.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Daniel i agree. The creature is a complete waste of oxygen and has no chance of rehabilitation

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Basically this guy has already given life sentences to the families of the victims, he should get the opposite.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

how ironic. he killed because he wanted the death penalty, but then a judge commuted his sentence to life in prison. perhaps this sentence is more fitting.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

He said he wanted to kill anyone so he would be sentenced to death.

This is exactly why I do not support the death penalty.This statement is repeated all too often by murderers in Japan. Stating that not receiving the death penalty is unfair to the families of the victims is only revenge. Spending the rest of his life in a 6 x 8 concrete cell is a punishment and he should die in jail. Death is an escape and exactly what he wanted.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Well, in one way changing the death penalty to a life sentence, is punishing this guy even more - he was looking for a death penalty, he wanted out... Now he has to live out his entire life in regret.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Good decision. Some murders here only happen because the perpetrator hopes for a death sentence. Life in prison is often cheaper than execution due to legal procedures and costs, and I agree with Disillusioned that life here without parole is a harsher sentence. Since this guy hoped for death, it's better to give him life, and this may even discourage others like him from committing similar crimes.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

He said he chose his victims that day on impulse and at random. He said he wanted to kill anyone so he would be sentenced to death.

all you had to do was to jump off a cliff...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Those who murder innocents in order to receive a death sentence should receive their wish, be it in a slow and painful way. Who would choose to die by the state if torture ending in death is the sentence? Innocent people going about their lives targeted randomly and murdered by a lunatic is the most despicable form of murder.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

why do I need to sponsor his jail stint...he himself is ready to go too, what possible society benefit might be to keep him alive in jail?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@alex einz duh torture or do you want to give him the easy way out

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

There's very little logic behind that 'I wanted to get the death penalty' excuse/reasoning for multiple murders. A cursory look at history will show any criminal that Japan, much like the US, does not execute people quickly. It takes years, often decades. If they seriously wanted to die, wouldn't they at least try to commit so-called 'suicide-by-cop' instead of just letting themselves be arrested and tried.

More likely he, and similar criminals, actually just want the relative stability (roof over head, guaranteed daily meals) of a life sentence, not a death sentence that could take decades to be handed down.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Life sentence=out in 7 yrs.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Discoj - that may well often be the case, but there are some (in)famous cases of recent years where the death wish murderers were executed after not such a long stint in prison - a few years, not decades. In these cases the crimes were described as especially horrific.

One example was Mamoru Takuma who murdered many kids at an elementary school in Osaka.

He said, ".."I've become disgusted with everything. I've tried to kill myself several times, but couldn't. I wanted to be caught and be given a death sentence."[

He was executed 1 year after sentencing.

As an opponent of the death penalty, I believe a non-parole life sentence to be more appropriate, both from the viewpoint of not taking another life and justice done over 50+years.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

you gotta take out trash instead of piling them

-2 ( +0 / -2 )


Stating that not receiving the death penalty is unfair to the families of the victims is only revenge.

Revenge is underrated when it comes to the state meting out justice to people who take the lives of innocents.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@sourpuss - Revenge is underrated when it comes to the state meting out justice to people who take the lives of innocents.

That's an interesting statement. So, if the relatives of the victims of murder want the perpetrator to be murdered too it is ok? Wouldn't that mean, the family of the perpetrator could also request the death of the family of the victim as revenge for the perp's death? Wouldn't that also mean they could request the death of the police for failing to stop the murder before it happened? Or, requesting the death of the government for failing to make the police stop the murder? There is an old English poem called, 'there was an old lady who swallowed a fly'. Possibly, it should be adjusted for this case and called, 'there was an old lady who swallowed revenge'. The death sentence is not a deterrent. In fact, in many cases it is a motivation, just like this one.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Is this commuting to life sentence a punishment? Or in recognition that Kyozo Isohi auditory hallucinations were partly or directly responsible for these crimes?

Either way, Osaka High Court Presiding Judge Hiroyuki Nakagawa has left the families of the victims emotionally in limbo. Was his drug use a factor? Kyozo Isohi murdered, just two weeks after being released from prison for assault and possession of stimulants.....In this case the death sentence would not have been a deterrent. It would have saved the families the emotional pain had Kyozo Isohi been been handed a life sentence in the first place.

Did Osaka Gov Ichiro Matsui, callous insensitivity, think for one moment the families would feel satisfied a just punishment would be served, had Kyozo Isohi taken his own life in his prison cell?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

At the age of 41, Isohi can now look forward to another 40 years of life subsidized by the tax payers at a cost of approximately 3 million yen per year. Thanks judge.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Disillusioned Why does the death penalty need to be a deterrent? All it needs to be is an equal reaction by society against a person who breaks society's rules. All of your examples are moot and rather facetious, because, as you know, it is not the family who asks for the death penalty, but rather it is society as a whole doing so. That whole "an eye for an eye makes the world blind" thing does not apply unless you live in a lawless society and are in the midst of a family feud. It's a straw man.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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