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A man dubbed the “Twitter Killer” in Japan has pleaded guilty to strangling and dismembering nine people after reaching out to them on the popular social media site and luring them to his home.
Takahiro Shiraishi, 29, told a Tokyo District Court on Wednesday that the shocking allegations against him “are all correct,” according to the BBC.
But while Shiraishi admitted to the crimes, his lawyers have argued that the charges should be reduced to “murder with consent” — which carries a lower prison sentence — claiming the victims had agreed to be killed.
Shiraishi allegedly targeted victims who had expressed suicidal thoughts on Twitter, offering to help them die and sometimes claiming he would kill himself alongside them, the outlet reports.
“I want to help people who are really in pain. Please DM [direct message] me anytime,” his Twitter profile read.
Authorities believe he killed eight women and one man, ranging in age from 15 to 26, from August to October in 2017. After luring the women to his home, he raped them and then strangled them to death.
He stored their dismembered remains in cooling boxes throughout his apartment in Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, the Japan Times reports.
He also stole cash from the victims — including what would equate to about $3,410 in U.S. currency from one victim.
Shiraishi’s lone male victim had been the boyfriend of one of the women killed. He was killed after he confronted Shiraishi at his apartment about his girlfriend’s whereabouts, The Guardian reports.
Shiraishi’s killing spree ended in October 2017 after the brother of one of his victims discovered messages on his sister’s Twitter account from Shiraishi. He convinced a female friend to reach out to Shiraishi—who had once worked as a scout recruiting women for the sex industry in a red-light district—and set up a meeting, but then called police instead.
When police arrived at the home, he allegedly told them that the body of the woman they were looking for was in the freezer. Police also discovered body parts from all eight of the other victims in storage containers and cooler boxes, the outlet reports.
While his lawyers have argued that the victims agreed to be killed, Shiraishi allegedly told local media outlet Mainichi Shimbun that he had killed them all without consent, according to the BBC.
“There were bruises on the back of the victims’ heads,” he said. “It means there was no consent and I did it so that they wouldn’t resist.”
The killings have sent shockwaves through the country and prompted the government to increase support for those who may be suicidal.
Twitter also amended its rules to state that users should not “promote or encourage suicide or self-harm” on the platform.
Shiraishi is scheduled to be sentenced for the crimes on Dec. 15.
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