A new update has been given in the arson case that devastated Kyoto Animation last July. A new report from Japan confirms 42-year-old Shinji Aoba has been formally charged as the lead suspect in the case. On December 16, Aoba was shared with murder, attempted murder, breaking and entering, arson, and various arms violations by the Kyoto District Public Prosecutors Office.
This update comes shortly after the suspect was said to be mentally fit for such indictments. Aobo spent months in hospital before moving into recovery after police found him on the day of the arson. The suspect had burns over 90% of his body and needed immediate medical care. Investigators brought in psychological experts to see if Aoba was fit for indictments and trial last week, and their conclusions suggested the suspect was ready.
According to current reports, the suspect is still bed-bound from his injuries more than a year after the arson and is unable to eat on his own. Aoba can speak, however, and Kyoto Metropolitan Police arrested the suspect back in May after doctors deemed him fit enough to endure detention. At this point, no dates have been given for the case's court proceedings, but the Supreme Court says this trial will take considerable time due to the seriousness of the charges.
Aoba is charged with the murder of 36 people and the attempted murder of 32 others who were all injured in the arson. The suspect allegedly targeted the studio after sending an unsolicited story pitch that he believes was then stolen for content. More than a year after the arson, Kyoto Animation's impacted Studio 1 has been completely demolished, and studio present Hideaki Hatta told NHK the company has far from recovered.
"There is no way for the lives lost to be returned to us. It is heartbreaking to think of the pain and disappointment of the affected employees and their loved ones. But we understand that we have no choice but to take the appropriate action and make a decision in accordance with the law," Hatta said.
"No matter how many days pass, our hearts are still heavy from what occurred. For the families of the victims, there are no days where they don't feel the pain of their loss. All of us at the company believe that continuing to create is the only way to connect with tomorrow."
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