Killer who stabbed to death 19 disabled people in Japanese care home massacre faces the death penalty
- Satoshi Uematsu, an ex care worker, didn’t deny his involvement in the rampage
- In 2016, Uematsu allegedly murdered 19 disabled people in a town near Tokyo
- Uematsu reportedly said he wanted to eradicate all people with disabilities, as he claimed people with disabilities ‘only create unhappiness’
Japanese prosecutors on Monday called for a 30-year-old man to be executed for allegedly murdering 19 disabled care home residents in one of the country’s worst mass killings.
Satoshi Uematsu, 30, a former care home employee, did not dispute his involvement in the 2016 stabbing rampage during his first court appearance last month in Yokohama.
But his lawyers entered a plea of not guilty, saying their client was suffering a ‘mental disorder’ linked to his use of marijuana.
In this file photo taken on July 27, 2016 murder suspect Satoshi Uematsu sits in the back seat of a police vehicle as he returns to the Tsukui police station in Sagamihara, Kanagawa prefecture, Japan
Uematsu (pictured in 2016) claimed through his lawyer that he is not guilty, claiming that he suffered a ‘mental disorder’ at the time of the attack due to cannabis use
Kaoru Irikura (C), head of the Tsukui Yamayuri-en care home, meets with the media before a court hearing on the case of a man accused of the 2016 murder of 19 disabled people at a Japanese care home, in Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture on January 8, 2020
Prosecutors have argued Uematsu was capable of taking responsibility for the attack, adding the rampage was ‘inhumane’ and left ‘no room for leniency.’
Hearings are to be concluded later this week, with the verdict expected on March 16, according to the local court.
Uematsu has reportedly said he wanted to eradicate all people with disabilities in the horrifying attack at the Tsukui Yamayuri-en centre in the town of Sagamihara, southwest of Tokyo, as he claimed people with disabilities ‘only create unhappiness’.
People in wheelchairs attend a lottery for admission tickets to the court hearing of Satoshi Uematsu, accused in the 2016 murder of 19 disabled people at a Japanese care home, outside the Yokohama District Court on January 8, 2020
Besides the 19 people killed, 26 people were injured.
Uematsu’s beliefs shocked Japan, with experts and activists raising questions about whether others might hold similar views.
Japan has been making efforts to increase accessibility – particularly in Tokyo ahead of this year’s Paralympic Games – and activists hailed last year’s election of two lawmakers with disabilities.