SENDAI, Nov. 22–(Kyodo) – The Sendai High Court on Tuesday upheld a death sentence against a woman calling herself an exorcist for killing six of her followers by repeatedly beating them on the pretext of exorcising evil spirits.
The ruling at the Fukushima District Court said Sachiko Eto, 58, beat followers with drumsticks in her house in Sukagawa, Fukushima Prefecture, where she lived with them, between January and June 1995 as a way to force demons from their bodies.
As a result, six followers died and one was injured, according to the ruling.
Her defense lawyers had argued during the high court hearings that Eto was not mentally competent to take responsibility for her actions as she had believed she was possessed at the time of the beatings, while prosecutors said she had repeatedly violated the followers on her own volition.
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