Arsonist who burned 36 people alive IS sentenced to death – he himself was ’90 percent’ burned

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JAPAN – A Japanese man found guilty of carrying out an arson attack that killed 36 people at an anime studio in 2019 was sentenced to death on Thursday.

It was Japan’s Deadliest Crime

The blaze that ripped through the studios of Kyoto Animation four-and-a-half years ago was Japan’s deadliest crime in decades and stunned the anime industry and its fans around the world.

Carrying Out the Crime

Shinji Aoba, now 45, broke into the building, spread gasoline around the ground floor, lit it and shouted ‘drop dead’ on the morning of July 18, 2019, survivors said.

‘The act of pouring an enormous amount of gasoline and setting it ablaze is extremely likely to be fatal, and immolating people is truly cruel and inhumane,’ presiding judge Keisuke Masuda said in his ruling.

The victims ‘were engulfed in fire and smoke in the blink of an eye… They died an anguishing death as the studio instantly turned into a hell’, he said.

Why he Started the Fire

Aoba was swiftly taken into custody and admitted ‘I did it’, telling police he had started the fire because he believed the studio had stolen his idea for a novel.

Efforts are Abortive

A number of victims were found on a spiral stairwell leading to the roof, suggesting they were overcome as they desperately tried to escape.

‘There was a person who jumped from the second floor… but we couldn’t rush to help because the fire was so strong,’ one woman told local media at the time.

More than 30 others were injured, with firefighters calling the incident ‘unprecedented’ and saying that rescuing people trapped inside was ‘extremely difficult’.

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The Victims

Many of those killed were young, including a 21-year-old woman. 

Aoba, who was arrested near the scene, faced five charges including murder, attempted murder and arson, and prosecutors sought capital punishment.

‘A Plea of Not Guilty’

His lawyers entered a plea of not guilty, saying he had a ‘mental disorder‘ but the judge rejected this.

Aoba believed that the studio – known by its fans as KyoAni – stole his ideas, prosecutors said, a claim the company has denied.

Aoba himself sustained burns on 90 percent of his body and only regained consciousness weeks after the fire, and the ability to speak later still. He reportedly underwent 12 operations for his injuries.

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.

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