The trial of suspect Shinji Aoba, who has confessed to being behind the deadly Kyoto Animation arson that killed more than 30 workers, has reached a new point. After family members gave their opinions on what kind of sentence they’d want — with many, but not all, pointing to the death penalty — the prosecution has officially asked that Aoba be put to death.
This came one day after Aoba said “I’m sorry” in Court, the first time he has apologized. At the end of his closing statement, he concluded, “I have answered questions to the best of my ability. There is nothing more to add at this moment. That’s all.”
“The victims bore no fault and the horror and despair of being exposed to a hellish situation is indescribable,” a member of the prosecution commented. “The degree of disregard for life is profound.”
The prosecution described Aoba’s reason for the attack — because he believed Kyoto Animation had plagiarized from him — as “utterly selfish” and “completely irrational.” Likewise, Aoba’s behavior was described as “premeditated, extremely dangerous and truly cruel, having a significant impact on society.”
The defense, meanwhile, is trying for a lesser sentence or an outright acquittal. The acquittal wouldn’t mean that Aoba didn’t do the deed, but that he is mentally incompetent and therefore shouldn’t be punished in the same way as a person who fully understands what’s going on. Aoba’s mental competency has been part of the trial, with the prosecution and defense arguing over his mental abilities.
“The death penalty should not be chosen for Mr. Aoba,” remarked the defense.
In regards to the mental capacity argument, the prosecution admitted that Aoba does “harbor delusions,” though they insisted that the delusions had a “limited impact on his behavior” and were not enough of an excuse to prevent the death penalty.
Right now the ruling is set to occur on January 25, 2024.
Source: The Mainichi Shimbun
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.