Man accused of killing 19 disabled people disrupts trial
Japan Today -- Jan 09
A Japanese man accused of stabbing 19 disabled people to death pleaded not guilty on Wednesday in a dramatic trial session interrupted when he seemed to put something in his mouth, struggled with court officials and lay on the floor writhing.

Satoshi Uematsu, 29, a former care home worker accused of killing 19 disabled people and wounding 26 in a care center in 2016 - one of postwar Japan's worst mass killings - was removed from the court and did not return when the trial resumed.

Before the interruption, Uematsu's lawyer said Uematsu acknowledged details of the indictment were true, but he has a psychiatric disorder that led to diminished capacity at the time of the incident.

"Mr Uematsu had a psychiatric disability and, as a result, he was not mentally competent," said the lawyer.

A calm-looking Uematsu, wearing a navy blue suit, white shirt and tie, and with his hair in a long pony tail, bowed slightly as he entered the courtroom, Japanese media said.

Soon after, Uematsu suddenly made motions as if to put something in his mouth, Japanese media said. A Reuters witness saw him struggling with uniformed court officials, writhing on the floor as three of them held him down, before the hearing was abruptly adjourned for about an hour.

Once resumed, without Uematsu in attendance, one of his lawyers said his abuse of marijuana led to mental illness, adding: "This has turned him into a different person. As a result, this incident took place."

But a prosecutor told the court any potential sentence would have to take into consideration the brutality and scale of the crime, noting that Uematsu had stabbed many victims in the neck.

News source: Japan Today
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