Killer of ex-health bureaucrat, wife to hang.
No new psych exam for man who murdered 'demons' to avenge dog.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

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.



Prosecutors seek death for murderer
of ex-vice minister, wife



Prosecutors sought the death penalty Wednesday for a 47-year-old man accused of killing a former top health ministry bureaucrat and his wife, and attempting to kill the wife of another former official at their homes in Saitama and Tokyo in 2008.

Takeshi Koizumi, in the first hearing of his trial at the Saitama District Court in November, basically admitted to the charges but pleaded not guilty, claiming that he ‘‘did not kill people but demons with evil hearts.’‘

He also said during the trial that he has not achieved his goal of killing every animal abuser, so he would continue to commit more murders if he is reincarnated. The prosecution apparently believes that he has no remorse for the killings, which it sees as premeditated crimes.

‘‘Nothing but capital punishment is in the cards,’’ a prosecutor said.

Koizumi is charged with fatally stabbing former Vice Minister of Health and Welfare Takehiko Yamaguchi, 66, and his wife Michiko, 61, at their home in the city of Saitama on Nov 17 last year. He is also charged with stabbing and seriously injuring Yasuko Yoshihara, 73, the wife of another former vice health and welfare minister, at their home in Tokyo the next day.

The verdict will be handed down on March 30 after closing arguments by the defense lawyers on Feb 10, according to the court schedule.

Before the prosecutors’ closing arguments, five days of intensive hearings were held in mid-December.


Mental check urged for admitted 'beast' killer

SAITAMA (Kyodo) Lawyers for a man accused of fatally stabbing a former health ministry bureaucrat and his wife and wounding another asked the court Wednesday to conduct a thorough mental analysis of their client.

The request by the lawyers for Takeshi Koizumi, 47, came during his fourth trial session before the Saitama District Court following a statement in the previous session that bewildered the public.

In the Nov. 26 session, Koizumi told the court he killed "beasts," not humans, as he explained his motives for fatally stabbing former vice health minister Takehiko Yamaguchi, 66, and his wife, Michiko, 61, at their home in the city of Saitama on Nov. 17 last year.

Koizumi is also charged with the attempted murder of Yasuko Yoshihara, 73, the wife of another former vice health minister, at the couple's Tokyo home the next day.

After his Nov. 22, 2008, arrest, Koizumi had initially told police he was upset with the health officials for policies that contributed to the killing of his pet dog, Chiro, which he claimed disappeared in his childhood and was later euthanized by a public health authority as a stray.

He turned himself in to police in Tokyo's Kasumigaseki district that day, arriving in a rented minivehicle carrying several knives and bloodstained gloves.

During Wednesday's session, Koizumi again brought up the pet-revenge story, telling the court: "Chiro was part of my family. So my family member was killed."

Koizumi continued, weeping: "I did it for revenge. Someone who took someone else's life must compensate by giving up his or her own life.

"I'm proud I did it. Actually, I deserve a reward," he added. "I will appeal any sentences unless I'm acquitted."

Given those statements, his counsel requested a full-fledged mental analysis.

They also criticized what they called the "shortcomings" by prosecutors who indicted Koizumi after quickly concluding he could be held criminally liable.

With the defense's request, the main focuses of the trial may shift to Koizumi's mental state at the time of the stabbings. Previously, the focus was whether he will win any leniency for turning himself in.

The stabbings occurred when Japan was also being rocked by the government pension record debacle. Koizumi had also planned to assault former Social Insurance Agency chief Kazuko Yokoo, a figure at the center of the pension fiasco.


元次官宅連続襲撃:小泉被告に2審も死刑 東京高裁判決