Eight years in prison… The trial reveals the overly complicated family situation of an elderly woman who was slaughtered by a saw. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Eight years in prison… The trial reveals the overly complicated family situation of an elderly woman who was slaughtered by a saw.

Why did 76-year-old wife decide to kill her 83-year-old husband?

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The home of defendant Yoko Maru. According to the testimony of her eldest son, “I cut out a tree with a saw before the incident. Was she cutting down this tree in the garden to kill her husband? (Photo: Yuki Takahashi)

On September 17, the Yokohama District Court (presiding Judge Taro Kageyama) sentenced the wife of a man accused of murdering her husband by cutting his head off with a saw in their home to eight years in prison (with 12 years of imprisonment sought).

According to the verdict, Yoko Maru cut the neck of her husband, Toshio (83), with a saw at their home in Chigasaki City on the morning of March 5 this year, causing him to bleed to death. As we follow the background of the tragedy of the incident, we can see the circumstances that could happen to any couple and any family.

The defendant collapsed on the floor during the trial.

The first trial was held on the 8th of the same month. Dressed in a light green short-sleeved blouse and black pants, with messy gray hair and silver-rimmed glasses, Maru staggered to sit on the couch in front of the defense table.

At his arraignment, the presiding judge asked him if there was anything different about the facts of the case. She was so weak that she could not connect the act of riding her husband and cutting off his head.

At her arraignment, she admitted to the contents of the indictment, and the only point of contention was the sentence. The trial, however, did not go smoothly. Maru, who had been quiet at first, began to move his entire body and make noises, almost in silence.

The situation changed when both sides finished their opening statements and reappeared in the courtroom after a recess. The defendant, seated on a chair, folded his arms, rolled his back, raised his back again, and slapped his forehead repeatedly with his palm. Then he rolls his back up again, wakes up and repeats ……. In the process, he gained momentum and fell to the floor just as he was rounding his back.

He was carried by a staff member and taken out of the courtroom. When the defendant appeared in the courtroom about 10 minutes after the scheduled resumption time, he was staggering to the left and to the right, and was even unable to walk. The prosecutor started to read out the evidence, but when the evidence showing the situation at the scene was shown on the large monitor in the courtroom, the defendant started to move his body back and forth, left and right again. He repeatedly slapped his forehead with the palm of his hand and shook his head slowly, vertically and horizontally, while occasionally groaning.

“‘What do you want to say, Mr. Maru?’

The judge asked, but the defendant didn’t answer. Instead, he kept tapping his head with his palm and started stamping his foot.

“Maru-san, please stop.”

The defendant did not say anything even though the presiding judge called out to him frequently, but he did not stop stamping his feet and hitting his head while shaking his body. The court was adjourned again, but after that, she stomped her feet while repeating in a small voice, “I can’t do it – I can’t do it – I can’t do it. Due to these actions, Maru was removed from the court and the hearing was held without the defendant. The next day, Maru was not seen in the courtroom until the questioning of the defendant.

According to the hearing, which continued without any clear reason for the defendant’s actions, Maru had a strong dislike for her husband, Hisao, at the time of the incident. The reason for this was Hisao’s behavior over the years and his attitude towards life.

The defendant had an arranged marriage with Mr. Toshio in 1970, and gave birth to their first daughter and son. They divorced in 1998, after the eldest daughter got married and started her own business. Her eldest son and Hisao moved out of their home and lived in an apartment, but she remarried in 2005 and returned home to live with her eldest son and Hisao. However, according to the prosecutor’s opening statement, “Mr. Toshio spent most of the day in a six-mat Japanese-style room on the first floor.

He never took a bath and left his room only to use the restroom. He ate light meals such as bread and rice balls given to him by his eldest son and the defendant.

He was a complete recluse while at home. “Lunch was bread and ice cream, and dinner was just a handful of rice balls that I had bought. I changed my pajamas once a year. I would give them to her and she would change into them.” (Testimony of the eldest son in the witness interview)

In the six-mat Japanese-style room shown on the large monitor as evidence, the shoji screen on the door was torn to shreds, and the room was yellowed, probably from the cigarettes that Hisao smoked or from not having taken a bath for many years. His eldest son testified that Hisao’s hair had grown to around his waist.

He had a grudge against Mr. Toshio for not putting enough money into the family budget when he was young and for not doing any housework or childcare, and he had a strong dislike for his stench and attitude toward life” (prosecutor’s opening statement).

“I’ve decided to use a saw and cut 3/5.

The eldest son, who is mentally ill, would be absent in the morning on the day of his hospital visit. He decided to do it on the next scheduled day and wrote it down in his notebook. Maru had stopped using kitchen knives, probably because he had previously broken both his hands, and the only knives he had at home were scissors and a saw. The only knives in his house were a pair of scissors and a saw. Perhaps in preparation for that day, he “started cutting wood with the saw before the incident,” according to his eldest son’s testimony.

The day of the incident. She saw that her eldest son had left for the hospital by car, picked up the saw at the entrance, and went to the six-mat Japanese-style room. He got on top of Toshio, who was lying on his back, and started to cut his head and face. When Hisao resisted, they struggled with each other, and he cut his neck three times. After that, he continued to ride on the horse to see if he would come back to life.

A child who needs a parent’s hand and a husband who can’t live on his own.

“I cut her to pieces, success.

It was in the evening of the same day that her eldest daughter noticed that she had received two such e-mails from Maru on her cell phone. She was in the middle of shopping at Costco with a friend. Her friend drove her to her parents’ house in a hurry, and the defendant herself called 110 at her urging. Two days before the incident, Maru had given her a backpack, which contained a bank book and a land title.

Now, the defendant repeatedly stomped his feet in court and did not say why he did it, but during the interrogation after his arrest, he explained in detail why he did it.

“I killed my husband, Toshio. I feel relieved now. I didn’t know if I could kill my husband as I was a woman who was outmatched in strength. I am relieved that I was able to kill him.
I had an arranged marriage, but I have never liked him. I disliked him the most for his violent behavior. I have been punched in the face three times. Other than that, I have been almost hit and had things thrown at me many times.

The other thing I disliked was that he never gave me any money. He was a factory worker, but after three months of marriage, he stopped giving me his salary and didn’t even give me my first bonus. He spent most of his salary on alcohol, pachinko and other games. I worked hard to support the family and raise our children.” (From the defendant Maru’s statement)

The couple divorced, but Hisao was hospitalized for malnutrition caused by alcohol, and after being released from the hospital, he needed temporary nursing care. While changing diapers and taking care of her ex-husband, she decided to get back together with him, saying, “My eldest son can’t take care of me, and I can’t let my daughter do it either.

She said, “There is something else I don’t like about my husband, and that is his smell; he hasn’t taken a bath in over 17 years and hasn’t brushed his teeth once since we got married. The stench is unbearable when he opens the door to the Japanese-style room for meals or to use the bathroom. Even if you wear a mask or hold your breath, the smell in the summer is not half bad.”

Then, a few months before the incident.

A few months before the incident, “I was walking outside with a cane when I suddenly staggered and couldn’t move. I heard from my son later that there had been an earthquake, but even the slightest tremor caused me to lose my balance. I thought my physical strength was failing. I have a responsibility as I married Hisao. I can’t let my children get into trouble. That’s why I decided to kill my husband. I haven’t told anyone.

On the 9th, Maru was finally brought into the courtroom by four staff members for questioning, but he not only stomped his feet, but also repeatedly slammed the witness stand with his palms. However, with persistent questioning by the presiding judge, he began to whisper, “I don’t know,” and to shake his head vertically and horizontally to indicate his intentions.

Judge: “Are you having a hard time right now?”
Defendant Maru : “………”
Judge: “It’s hard, what’s hard?”
Defendant Maru : “Everything.”
Presiding Judge: “Do you think your daughter or son will be affected by what you have done?”
Maru : “I do.”
Your Honor, “Is that part of what’s hard for you?”

The defendant nodded in response to the judge’s question. Although the defendant showed some signs of intent, the judge pointed out that his attitude “did not show a sincere attitude toward the crime.

Her eldest daughter, who appeared in court as a witness, expressed her feelings toward the defendant, saying, “I wish she would have consulted me (if she was going to commit a crime). The defendant, however, said that although she now feels that she should have consulted with him, at the time she “didn’t think that she should have.

She made up her mind and did it secretly so that her family as well as her neighbors would not be aware of her suffering and determination. With a child who needs help from her parents and a husband who can’t live alone, Maru has spent her life without sending out an SOS to the people around her.

  • Interview, text, and photographs Yuki Takahashi

    Observer. Freelance writer. She is a freelance writer, and has written many books, including "Tsukebi no mura: rumor killed five people? (Shobunsha), "Runaway Old Man, Crime Theater" (Yosenya Shinsho), "Kanae Kijima: The Secret of Dangerous Love" (Tokuma Shoten), "Kanae Kijima Gekijo" (Takarajimasya), and in the past, "Kasumikko Club: Daughters' Court Hearings" (Shinchosha).

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