A 41-year-old man has been sentenced to 19 years in prison for the arson-murders of his 31-year-old wife and two children aged 3 and 1, last year in Tome, Miyagi Prefecture.
The Sendai District Court handed down its verdict against Yoshiaki Shimaya, who had pleaded guilty to killing his wife Miyu, daughter Mao and son Kyosuke, Fuji TV reported Thursday.
The court heard that last July 4, at around 2:30 a.m., Shimaya set fire to a futon mat with a lighter in a bedroom located on the second floor of the main residence of the home. A total of nine people lived at the home, which included an annex. The others — Shimaya’s parents, his oldest son, grandmother and younger brother all escaped the fire.
Shimaya's wife Miyu— who was pregnant at the time — called 119 shortly after the fire started, saying her husband had set fire to the house. She left the house, then went back in to try and rescue her two young children but was unable to get out.
Shimaya was arrested an hour after the fire started on a road about seven kilometers from the house.
The court heard that Miyu had sought help from police in 2015, saying that her husband would often get drunk and physically abuse her.
Shimaya’s defense had argued that he was drunk at the time and did not intend to kill anyone.© Japan Today/Kyodo