A Japanese man accused of attacking passengers and setting their train carriage on fire while dressed as the Joker in 2021 denied parts of his indictment in his first court hearing on Monday.
The attack: The incident occurred on a train heading to Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood at around 8 p.m. on Halloween. Kyota Hattori, 26, who came dressed in a purple suit and green shirt — leading to comparisons with Batman villain the Joker — allegedly stabbed a 72-year-old man before setting a seat on fire, which ended up injuring 12 other passengers.
At his trial Monday, Hattori reportedly admitted to both stabbing the seated senior and setting the train carriage ablaze. However, he pleaded not guilty to murder intent over the alleged arson.
“I don’t know if the arson can be considered attempted murder,” he said, as per the Japan Times.
What prosecutors are saying: Prosecutors, however, believe Hattori had intended to kill many people to fulfill his own death wish. They said he began wanting to die in June 2021 after his ex-girlfriend married someone else. Around the same time, he was also told that he would be transferred to a different post in his company due to a work problem. Prosecutors said he then tried to kill himself but was unsuccessful, so he opted to attack others in hopes of being given the death penalty.
What’s next: Hattori’s trial is expected to focus on whether he intended to kill the 12 passengers by arson. The verdict is scheduled for July 31.