Takahiro Shiraishi, nicknamed ‘the Twitter killer‘ for finding his victims through the popular social network, was sentenced to death after being found guilty of murdering nine people.
The man was arrested in October 2017, after security forces found 240 human body fragments, including nine heads, at his home in Zama, outside Tokyo, stored in portable refrigerators and toolboxes, covered with cat litter to hide the smell.
At trial, Shiraishi admitted murdering and dismembering eight women and one man, all between 15 and 26 years old. According to the Japanese lawyers, all the victims of the maniac expressed suicidal thoughts on social networks. The serial killer promised his victims to help them commit suicide or even die alongside them.
“I want to help those who really suffer. Please send me a message at any time,” could be read in the man’s profile on the social network, where he used the nickname ‘executioner’.
Although Shiraishi’s lawyers asked for the charges be reduced to “murder with consent”, which carries a penalty of between six months to seven years in prison, the judge declared that in reality, “none of the nine victims asked to be murdered, not even tacitly.” In addition, he classified crimes as extremely serious.
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The killings not only caused an uproar in Japan and reignited debates about social media control and suicide prevention, but also prompted changes on Twitter. The social network modified the rules in the Asian country – where some 20,000 people kill themselves each year – and prohibited users from promoting suicide or self-harm.