“There are no circumstances present for which the death penalty should be avoided.”

It’s been roughly four and a half years since Shinji Aoba walked into anime production company Kyoto Animation’s studio in the Fushimi district of Kyoto, spread gasoline around the interior, and set it ablaze. 36 Kyoto Animation employees were killed and another 33 injured, with only one of the 70 people in the building miraculously making it out unharmed.

Aoba’s guilt, in the sense of whether or not he was the person who committed the crime, has never been in doubt He was apprehended attempting to flee the scene after the flames engulfed his body as well, and has admitted that he purposely attacked the studio as an act of revenge for what he saw as plagiarism of a novel he had submitted to Kyoto Animation as part of a writing contest. The severity of Aoba’s burns, however, meant that considerable time would pass before he could be formally arrested (as he had to be deemed healthy enough to survive incarceration), and the pace at which his trial could proceed was limited in part due to his ongoing physical rehabilitation.

The trial has now concluded, though, and the Kyoto District Court, seeing no chance of Aoba’s mental and moral rehabilitation, has sentenced him to death.

The crux of debate during the trial was whether or not the now 45-year-old Aoba was of sufficient mental capacity to be legally punished for the arson attack. In addition to stating that he chose his method of attack specifically because he felt it would allow him to kill more people, throughout the trial Aoba maintained that he continues to feel that he has been wronged by Kyoto Animation, and displayed an utter lack of remorse when first learning how many people had died because of him.

In its ruling, the court cited Aoba’s deliberate decision to attack the studio early in the business day, when a large number of employees could be expected to be inside the building, and the premeditated nature of purchasing and transporting the large quantity of gasoline used to the scene of the crime, concluding “There are no circumstances present for which the death penalty should be avoided.”

Source: NHK News Web, Yahoo! Japan News/Yomiuri TV
Top image: Wikipedia/L26
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