crime

Supreme Court upholds ruling commuting death sentence to life for man who fatally stabbed 2 people

9 Comments

The Supreme Court has upheld a 2017 ruling by the Osaka High Court that commuted the death penalty to life imprisonment for a man who stabbed two people to death on an Osaka street in 2012.

In the first trial of Kyozo Isohi, now 44, that concluded in June 2015, the death sentence was handed down by six lay and three professional judges.

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. Isohi stabbed Minamino first, then ran about 40 meters and stabbed Sasaki. He went back to the fallen Minamino and stabbed him again.

Lawyers for Isohi argued that he had said he had been having auditory hallucinations with a voice telling him to "stab" people. After his arrest, he underwent two psychiatric evaluations 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 then 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 in 2017, 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.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

9 Comments
Login to comment

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.

Really? And yet he was found competent to stand trial, and lets not forget he WENT BACK and stabbed the first victim again!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Shocking ruling. Why does Japan have the death penalty if not to exterminate scum like this?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

never mind the innocent victims. The courts always focus on the welfare of the perpetrator. The commission of murder and manslaughter have become common place in this Society to the extent that we focus on the perp and bow our heads to the victims .Judges and sentencing officials tend to come from the upper end of society and have no empathy for lowly victims

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Perhaps it's a way so he doesn't get what he want anymore and has to live in agony, since he's stated he wants the death penalty.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Vince Black

I personally think lifetime sentences are much worst than death for criminals. If the prisons are anything like the detention centers that they hold foreigners in, then this is exactly what he deserves.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Perhaps it's a way so he doesn't get what he want anymore and has to live in agony, since he's stated he wants the death penalty.

That was my thought too. For some people, life in prison can be a worse fate than death. Since it was his desire to die, and this is not the first case of its kind in Japan where someone has killed with the hope they'll receive the death sentence, then denying him what he wants is a way to deter copycats. Of course, from a legal perspective, they can't frame it as simply as that, so use a legal arguments about premeditation as an excuse.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Life in a Japanese prison is much harder than a western one. Very strict conditions. No heating or ac. Punishments for the slightest offense.

https://gaijinass.com/2017/03/30/brutal-realities-of-prison-in-japan/

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Calling for the death penalty is fine when you've got a perfect legal system that never makes mistakes. If you're going to apply it, you better have a decent method of resurrection. If you can't apply it fairly in all cases, you shouldn't be applying it at all. Holding them in prison is harsh enough, and then at least you can release them when the inevitable mistakes occur (and they always occur).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Shocking ruling. Why does Japan have the death penalty if not to exterminate scum like this?

Japan does have a death penalty. Thankfully it does not have to be used every time an inadequate calls for it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites