A Japanese man dubbed as 'Twitter killer' for murdering people after luring them on social media had admitted to killing nine people in a court on Wednesday.
Takahiro Shiraishi, 27, admitted that he killed and dismembered all nine of his victims. However, Shiraishi's lawyer argued that charges should be reduced as the 'Twitter killer' had murdered his victims -- who had expressed suicidal thoughts -- with "consent", news agency AFP reported. The lawyer claimed that the victims gave their "consent" to be killed.
Shiraishi faces the death penalty if he is convicted of murder. The death penalty in Japan is carried out by hanging the accused.
The serial killer is also facing rape charges.
Shiraishi, who is accused of dismembering his victims and storing their body parts in cooler and toolboxes, did not contest nine counts of murder, saying they "are all correct", public broadcaster NHK reported, according to news agency AFP.
Shiraishi's lawyer, however, want the charges against him reduced to "murder with consent" which carries a prison sentence of between six months and seven years.
Shiraishi, who called himself the "The hanging pro" on Twitter, reportedly contacted people over the internet using suicide pact websites. His Twitter bio then said: "I want to help people who are really in pain. Please DM me anytime."
Before becoming a gruesome killer, Shiraishi worked as a scout for a brothel located in Kabukicho district.
In an interview with the Mainichi Shimbun daily, Shiraishi said he disagreed with his lawyers and would tell prosecutors that he had "killed without consent".
"There were bruises on the back of the victims' heads. It means there was no consent and I did it so that they wouldn't resist," he said in comments published on Wednesday.
Shiraishi was detained three years ago by police investigating the disappearance of a 23-year-old woman who had reportedly tweeted about wanting to kill herself.
After she went missing, her brother apparently gained access to 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.
Nine dismembered bodies, with as many as 240 bone parts stashed in coolers and toolboxes, had been sprinkled with cat litter in a bid to hide the evidence.
Shiraishi told the Mainichi Shimbun he "didn't plan on getting caught" and boasted of not being identified until his final killing.
(With inputs from AFP)