A Japanese man who arranged suicide pacts via the internet with three people he subsequently killed has been sentenced to death, AFP reports.
Hiroshi Maeue, 38, met a 25-year-old woman online and "proposed that they kill themselves together". However, when they entered the car chosen to host the suicide, he "bound her with ropes and choked her to death". His other victims were "a 21-year-old college student and a 14-year-old junior high school student", similarly dispatched.
Maeue filmed the murders and even issued a ransom demand for the high school student's return after killing him.
A court-ordered examination confirmed Maeue did not suffer "any mental disorder and that he was mentally competent". He pleaded guilty to the charges.
In sentencing Maeue to hang, Osaka District Court presiding Judge Kazuo Mizushima said: "The crime was cruel, harsh, and outrageous. This was a crime aimed at fulfilling the accused's sexual desire. It is difficult for him to change these unusual characteristics. We cannot help but give the extreme penalty." ®