A man who repeatedly scratched a car and harassed a family. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

A man who repeatedly scratched a car and harassed a family.

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The suspect, Saito, was arrested. He was involved in film production in his younger days.

After 10 months of evaluation and detention, it was determined that he was criminally responsible.

On December 21, the Saitama District Public Prosecutors Office indicted Atsushi Saito, 41, an unemployed man who allegedly killed three members of a family in Hanno City, Saitama Prefecture, on charges of arson of a structure not currently inhabited and violation of the Firearms Control Law. According to the indictment, in December 2010, Saito murdered Bishop William Ross Jr. (then 69), his wife Izumi Morita (68), and their eldest daughter Sophianae Morita (32), all US citizens living nearby. He is alleged to have set fire to the house where the family lived.

Saito consistently denied committing the crime, saying he did not know when questioned by the police. The district attorney’s office has detained the suspect twice since February in order to determine whether or not he is criminally responsible for the crime. As a result of the evaluation, it was determined that the suspect could be held criminally responsible.

In an article distributed on December 28, 2010, FRIDAY Digital reported in detail on the triple murder of a family in which Saito denies involvement. The article recounts the true face of Saito, a suspect who had repeatedly caused trouble in the neighborhood, and the background of the horrific trouble (some content has been corrected).

Security cameras caught him walking without a care in the house.

Oi, open up!”

When investigators with an arrest warrant and search warrant entered the suspect’s house and shouted, the man remained in a room on the second floor and refused to open the door. Inside the door was a piece of furniture propped up. After about 10 minutes, investigators pried open the door and arrested the suspect.

The Saitama Prefectural Police arrested the suspect, a resident of Hanno City, on December 25, ’22, on suspicion of attempted murder. Shortly after 7:00 a.m. that morning, the suspect entered the home of Mr. Bishop, who lived nearby. He beat his wife, Izumi, and daughter, Megumi Sofiana, to death with a blunt object.

The security camera footage showed what appeared to be Saito, dressed in dark clothing, walking away from Mr. Bishop’s home without a care in the world. Several blunt objects, including an axe and a hammer, were found at Saito’s home, about 60 meters from the scene.

It appears that he chased Mr. Bishop and the others and repeatedly hit them in the head and neck. Mr. Bishop’s body had multiple bludgeoning marks and his head was deformed into a snarl. …… The cause of death was cervical cord injury. When police arrived at the scene, Bishop and the others were already dead. A fire was reported at Bishop’s home, possibly started by kerosene. The police responded to the scene with a fire. When initially questioned, Saito refused to give a statement, saying, ‘I don’t want to talk about it,'” said a reporter from a national newspaper’s society section.

Mr. Bishop’s home immediately after the incident.

The scene of the incident took place in a quiet bedroom community. When a reporter from “FRIDAY Digital” visited the scene immediately after the incident, he received graphic testimonies from nearby residents.

The neighborhood is usually a very quiet residential area. I was startled when I heard a man’s voice in the morning saying, “Stop it! I was surprised when I heard a man’s voice saying, “Stop it! I was surprised to hear a man’s voice saying, “Stop! A woman screamed, “Oh my God! Someone must have called 110. Police officers immediately arrived on the scene, and even though it was Christmas Sunday, the atmosphere was very tense.

Stones were thrown indoors. ……

Mr. Bishop came to Japan about 40 years ago. After graduating from Sophia University, he worked for a pharmaceutical company and married Izumi. According to neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Bishop moved from Tokyo about six years ago. They were a pleasant couple who spoke fluent Japanese and greeted each other in a friendly manner. However, they are said to have had problems with the Saito suspect for some time.

In the summer of ’21, there was an incident in which the side of a luxury foreign car owned by Mr. Bishop was gouged out all around with a screwdriver-like object. His wife Izumi told those around her, ‘The repair cost one million yen. I don’t know why it was scratched.

In this trouble, the suspect Saito was arrested on suspicion of destruction of property. Saito had a history of harassing Bishop, including throwing rocks at his house, and had been arrested on several other occasions. However, in each case, the evidence was insufficient and the charges were dropped.

(A former reporter) From his past troubles and his history of repeatedly hitting Bishop with a blunt object and setting his house on fire, we can sense that Saito has a strong grudge against Bishop. What kind of person is he?

He has been living in his house in Hanno City for about 30 years.” When his parents divorced around 1999, he lived with his mother and sister. After that, my mother and sister left the house, and recently I have been living alone. They had few neighbors and the house was closed off.

It seems that he was involved in film production. A prominent film director posted the following on his Twitter account (at the time) shortly after the incident [In 2007, he was a young filmmaker who suddenly lost contact with those around him while editing. (I wonder if he had been holed up for 15 years since he stumbled on that film.

How did Saito come to harbor such a strong desire to kill the Bishop family? It will become clear during the upcoming trial.

Suspect Saito being sent to the police station
Saito’s house, which was closed off
Suspect Saito being sent to the police station for prosecution (photo has been partially altered)
  • Photography Shinji Hasuo

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