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Kyoto Animation arsonist sentenced to death for killing 36 people

Kyoto Animation arsonist sentenced to death for killing 36 people Kyoto Animation studio after the arson (Getty Images)

In Japan, a man has been sentenced to death for committing a horrifying arson attack on Kyoto Animation studio, resulting in the loss of 36 lives, according to AP News and BBC.

The Kyoto District Court determined that 45-year-old Shinji Aoban was mentally capable of facing punishment for the crime and announced the death penalty. Aoba's defense argued that he was mentally unable to be held criminally responsible.

"I have determined that the defendant was not mentally insane or weak at the time of the crime," Chief Judge Masuda said at Kyoto District Court.

Aoba suffered severe burns and spent ten months in the hospital before his arrest in May 2020. During the court proceedings, he appeared in a wheelchair.

The arson

The incident happened on July 18, 2019, when Aoba stormed into Kyoto Animation’s No. 1 studio and set it ablaze, repeatedly yelling "Drop dead". Around 70 people were working in the studio at the time of the attack. The victims primarily died of carbon monoxide poisoning, while over 30 others suffered severe burns and injuries.

Aoba, who aspired to be a novelist, had feelings of revenge. He believed that Kyoto Animation had unjustly taken novels he had submitted for a company contest.

"The delusion that KyoAni Studio had plagiarised his work influenced his motivation," prosecutors told the court.

Aoba's background revealed financial struggles and job instability. Reports indicated that Aoba had also planned an attack on a train station a month before the animation studio arson. The court concluded that Aoba, who had studied past criminal cases involving arson, had premeditated the crime and was mentally capable.

Kyoto Animation, also known as KyoAni, was founded in 1981 and gained recognition for producing a highly popular anime series about high school girls. The company not only created successful anime but also provided training for aspiring animators.