Associated Press, July 3, 2003
Sachiko Eto, 55, was convicted on murder charges and sentenced to death a year ago, in connection with the exorcism rites – performed in her home between 1994 and 1995.
In the opening session of her appeal trial at a high court in the northern city of Sendai, her lawyer argued that she was insane at the time of the deaths and did not intend to kill, Kyodo News agency reports.
A spokeswoman for the court confirmed it had begun hearing Eto’s appeal, but declined to discuss the details.
Three of Eto’s followers, including her daughter, were given prison sentences by a lower court in May 2002 for alleged complicity in the killings.
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