SAITAMA (Kyodo) The Saitama District Court sentenced a 48-year-old man to death Tuesday for killing a former top health ministry bureaucrat and his wife and attempting to kill another woman in a series of attacks in 2008 that stunned the nation.
In meeting the sentencing demands of prosecutors, presiding Judge Yoshihisa Denda said Takeshi Koizumi should take full criminal responsibility for his acts, which were “tactical and premeditated in great detail.”
Koizumi admitted to the charges in principle but pleaded not guilty, claiming he had “killed not people but demons with evil hearts,” in a case that was initially thought to be a reaction the health ministry’s pension record scandal. Instead, it was found the man was avenging the death of his pet dog.
Koizumi was convicted of fatally stabbing former Vice Health and Welfare Minister Takehiko Yamaguchi, 66, and his wife, Michiko, 61, at their home in the city of Saitama on Nov. 17, 2008.
He stabbed and seriously wounded Yasuko Yoshihara, 73, the wife of another former vice health and welfare minister, at the couple’s Tokyo home on Nov. 18 that year, the court ruled.
Koizumi said he had a grudge against the ministry since junior high school because he thought a health care center killed his dog.
His lawyers argued he is mentally incompetent because of a delusional disorder. They asked the court to refrain from using the death sentence and to weigh the fact that he turned himself in.
Their request for another mental exam was rejected.