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Prosecutors Confirm Plan to Indict Kyoto Animation Fire Suspect

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
Newspaper reports medical experts have "likely" deemed suspect mentally fit to stand trial

Japanese prosecutors confirmed on Thursday that they will indict the 42-year-old man arrested on suspicion of causing the fire at the Kyoto Animation's Studio 1 building that killed 36 people and wounded 33 others in July 2019. Prosecutors plan on indicting him by December 16.

The Mainichi newspaper stated medical experts have "likely" determined the suspect to be mentally competent to stand trial, and to be held liable for the attack. The Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported the Kyoto District Public Prosecutors Office will make a final decision after "consulting with the high public prosecutors office."

Police arrested the suspect in late May, 10 months after the fire. After consulting with several doctors, police had decided to wait until the man had sufficiently recovered from his injuries in the fire to be able to participate in an investigation before arresting him.

The suspect reportedly admitted to the charges in May and said, "I thought I'd be able to kill many people if I used gasoline."

According to previous police reports, the suspect had alleged that Kyoto Animation "stole his novel." Police found that the suspect submitted several stories to Kyoto Animation, but Kyoto Animation has denied basing any of its anime on those stories. Investigative sources also stated they found no similarities of the studio's anime projects with the suspect's works.

On July 18, 2019, a devastating fire broke out at Kyoto Animation's Studio 1 building. A total of 70 people were inside the building at the time. The fire killed 36 people and injured 33 others. In addition to those victims, a man in his 40s on his way to work in the area suffered minor injuries from smoke inhalation.

Kyoto Prefectural Police apprehended the then 41-year-old suspect who allegedly used gasoline to start the fire, and they are investigating the case as arson. The man allegedly bought 40 liters of gasoline in two canisters and used a cart to transport the gasoline to Kyoto Animation's Studio 1 building.

Demolition work on Kyoto Animation's Studio 1 building concluded on April 28. The studio started recruiting again in July.

Thanks to cowpunk for the news tip.

Sources: The Mainichi, The Asahi Shimbun

This article has a follow-up: Prosecutors Officially Indict Kyoto Animation Fire Suspect (2020-12-17 12:00)
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