A 32-year-old Peruvian man indicted in the killings of six people in Saitama Prefecture in 2015 has declined to enter a plea at the opening session of his trial at the Saitama District Court.
At the beginning of the trial on Friday, the judge asked the defendant, Vayron Jonathan Nakada Ludena, through a Spanish-speaking interpreter, his name, Fuji TV reported. Ludena said nothing. The judge repeated the question and Ludena whispered his name. When asked how he pleads, Ludena started mumbling incomprehensibly, claiming there was a cup on his head.
Ludena’s lawyers have argued that he is unfit to stand trial because he is suffering from a mental illness and therefore cannot be held criminally responsible. Last year, a psychiatric test conducted at the request of his defense lawyers found him to be schizophrenic. But an evaluation conducted by prosecutors ahead of the indictment concluded that he did not have a mental illness.
On Sept 12, 2015 -- two days before the first murders -- Ludena, who had quit his job at a food processing plant in Gunma Prefecture -- was taken into custody by police in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, after being found loitering at a fire station. During questioning, Ludena told police he was being followed by a man in a suit who was going to kill him. He then left the police station.
The court heard that Ludena broke into three homes in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, and killed the occupants during a spree from Sept 14 to 16, 2015.
The victims were Minoru Tasaki, 55, and his wife Misae, 53, Kazuyo Shiraishi, 84, and 41-year-old Miwako Kato and her two daughters, 10-year-old Misaki and 7-year-old Haruka.
Ludena was arrested on Oct 8, 2015, in connection with the Tasakis' deaths, having spent over a week unconscious in a hospital after plunging from a second-floor window at the Katos’ home on Sept 16. Police subsequently served him with further arrest warrants relating to the other victims.
The husband of Kato, who was in the gallery, said to reporters after the hearing that he wanted to know why his wife and daughters had to die.
The second session of his trial, which is being held under the lay judge system, will be held on Monday.© Japan Today/Kyodo