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U.S. | Execution by nitrogen hypoxia doesn’t seem headed for widespread adoption as bills fall short and nitrogen producers object

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The day after Alabama carried out the first-known US execution using nitrogen gas, its attorney general sent a clear message to death penalty states that might want to follow suit: “Alabama has done it, and now so can you.” Indeed, in the weeks immediately following the January execution of Kenneth Smith, it appeared a handful of states were listening, introducing bills that would adopt the method known as nitrogen hypoxia or a similar one. Officials behind each framed the legislation as an alternative method that could help resume executions where they had long been stalled.

Japan | Man accused of having knives on Osaka-bound shinkansen 'wanted death penalty'

YAMAGUCHI -- A man accused of taking knives on a shinkansen bullet train bound for Osaka pleaded guilty and said he "wanted to be executed after randomly killing people " during the first hearing of his trial on Sept. 13.

Shohei Takeuchi, 27, an unemployed man with no fixed address, was indicted for allegedly possessing blades on a shinkansen which departed from JR Kagoshima-Chuo Station on July 15. 

His trial opened at the Yamaguchi District Court on Sept. 13 and concluded the same day.

According to the indictment and other sources, Takeuchi had a kitchen knife with an approximately 15.5-centimeter blade and a knife with a roughly 12-cm blade in his possession on a running bullet train at around 7 p.m. on July 15 without due reason. 

After passengers reported the incident, he was arrested at JR Shin-Yamaguchi Station on suspicion of violating the firearms and swords control law. 

No injuries were reported among some 250 passengers aboard the train.

During the Sept. 13 hearing, prosecutors said in their opening statement, "The defendant had run away from home, became broke and got desperate." 

The prosecution demanded the court sentence him to six months in prison, claiming that he committed the crime in hopes of being executed after learning on the internet about a trial of a similar case in Tokyo.

Takeuchi's defense team urged leniency from the court, saying, "There were no specific words and actions that suggest he attempted to cause harm (to passengers)."

The ruling on the case is scheduled to be handed down on Oct. 2.

Source: mainichi.jp, Staff, September 14, 2023


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