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Japan ‘Twitter killer’ victims consented to their deaths, say lawyers

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Takahiro Shiraishi dubbed the 'Twitter killer' who used social media to lure his victims has pleaded guilty to nine murders STR JIJI PRESS/AFP/File

A Japanese man dubbed the “Twitter killer” for luring his victims on social media admitted in court Wednesday to killing nine people, local media said.

But lawyers for Takahiro Shiraishi, 29, argued the charges should be reduced because the victims — who had expressed suicidal thoughts — gave their consent to be killed.

Shiraishi, who is also accused of dismembering his victims and storing body parts in coolboxes, did not contest nine counts of murder, saying they “are all correct”, public broadcaster NHK reported

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He is accused of using Twitter to contact victims aged between 15 and 26 who talked online about committing suicide, telling them he could help them in their plans — or even die alongside them.

His lawyers want the charges against him reduced to “murder with consent”, which carries a prison sentence of between six months and seven years.

Shiraishi was detained three years ago by police investigating the disappearance of a 23-year-old woman who had reportedly tweeted about wanting to take her own life.

After she went missing, her brother apparently hacked into her Twitter account, and noticed a suspicious handle.

Police uncovered a grisly house of horrors behind Shiraishi’s front door on the morning of Halloween in 2017.

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Nine dismembered bodies, with as many as 240 bone parts stashed in coolers and toolboxes, has been sprinkled with cat litter in a bid to hide the evidence.

More than 600 people lined up for 13 public gallery seats to observe Wednesday’s first hearing, NHK said.

If convicted of murder Shiraishi faces the death penalty, which is carried out by hanging in Japan.

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Japan has the highest suicide rate among the Group of Seven industrialised nations, with more than 20,000 people taking their lives annually.

The suicide rate has been falling since it peaked in 2003, however

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© 2020 AFP


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2020 Election

Trump ‘abruptly’ storms out of 60 Minutes interview and refuses to return: report

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President Donald Trump was said to have "abruptly" ended an interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Leslie Stahl at the White House.

According to CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins, the "drama" occurred on Tuesday afternoon.

"Apparently there was some drama while President Trump was taping his 60 Minutes interview today," Collins wrote on Twitter. "He abruptly ended his solo interview after around 45 minutes & did not return for a scheduled walk & talk he was supposed to tape with Pence, @abdallahcnn and I are told by sources."

Apparently there was some drama while President Trump was taping his 60 Minutes interview today. He abruptly ended his solo interview after around 45 minutes & did not return for a scheduled walk & talk he was supposed to tape with Pence, @abdallahcnn and I are told by sources.

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Peru unveils giant cat etching at famous Nazca site

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A giant 2,000-year-old figure of a feline that was on the brink of disappearing will be the new cat's meow when Peru's remarkable Nazca Lines attraction reopens to tourists in November.

The geoglyph is around 120 feet (37 meters) long and was recently discovered by a drone on a hillside, the culture ministry said.

"The figure was barely visible and was about to disappear due to the effects of natural erosion as it's on a fairly steep slope," said the ministry.

A group of archeologists took on the job of cleaning and preserving the geoglyph, which shows a cat with its body in profile but its head front on.

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Trump mask-shames CBS reporter Lesley Stahl — and ominously warns ‘much more to come’

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President Donald Trump has spent months belittling people for wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

His anti-mask attitude reportedly resulted in White House and campaign staff not wearing masks so as to avoid angering their boss.

And Trump has repeatedly attacked Joe Biden for wearing facial coverings -- even after the president was hospitalized for COVID-19.

But on Tuesday, Trump dramatically shifted his position and mask-shamed CBS "60 Minutes" reporter Lesley Stahl, posting video of her not wearing a mask while Trump was.

Trump included video of their interview in his tweet:

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