A man on trial for murdering 19 residents and injuring 26 other people at a care home for the mentally disabled in a 2016 knife rampage said Wednesday he will not appeal regardless of the ruling.
During the trial at the Yokohama District Court in Kanagawa Prefecture, the defense team for Satoshi Uematsu, a 30-year-old former employee of the facility, argued in a closing statement that he should not be held responsible for his actions due to mental incompetence.
(Flowers are seen placed on an altar set up at Tsukui Yamayuri En, a care home for the mentally disabled in Sagamihara, near Tokyo, on July 26, 2019, the third anniversary of the stabbing rampage.)
The defense cast doubt on the results of a psychiatric assessment, as the doctor who performed it had not taken into account a marijuana-induced psychotic disorder.
Uematsu was diagnosed with "personality disorder," leading the prosecutors to determine that he could be held criminally responsible.
The defense team said due to the use of marijuana, Uematsu's "personality changed drastically from 2015" and he began to think disabled people were worthless.
"We cannot say that he genuinely understood the meaning of his crimes...He was driven by a mental disorder triggered by marijuana and could not judge right from wrong," the defense team said.
Prosecutors on Monday insisted that the influence of marijuana had not played a role in the planning and execution of the rampage, and the defendant should be held fully responsible for his actions.
They demanded the death penalty for Uematsu, saying he had continued to assert that disabled people do not have human rights and committed an unprecedented mass murder.
The court is scheduled to deliver the ruling on March 16.
According to the indictment, Uematsu fatally stabbed 19 residents and injured 24 others at Tsukui Yamayuri En in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, in the early hours of July 26, 2016.
He is also accused of binding five employees to handrails in a corridor, causing injury to two of them.
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