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High court rules killer mentally incompetent

Date Posted: 2004-12-02

Prosecutors and victims’ families are seething at a court decision that a murderer’s conviction be set aside.

The high court ruled the man who went on an August 2001 rampage in Sashiki Town could not be imprisoned for the murders because he was mentally ill. The man first killed his parents, then stabbed five elementary school children with a knife before killing a 68-year-old woman on a nearby roadway.

At his first trial, the 28-year-old man was convicted of murder and attempted murder and sentenced to three years in prison. During the trial he was found to be an angry man, but one who was had enough mental abilities to be accountable. His parents testified he was normal.

At the high court hearing the judges said the man was mentally ill and thus not responsible for his actions.

The prosecutors were enraged. “It’s not fair. We will think carefully and decide what to do next.” Victims’ families are angry and shocked. They were expecting the death penalty, rather than release. They were further angered to learn the man had stopped receiving treatments for his illness.

That’s changed though. The court has ordered the man back to the hospital for treatment.

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