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Niigata: Man, 43, accused of starting fire that killed elderly acquaintance

Keishi Kiyono
Keishi Kiyono (Twitter)

NIIGATA (TR) – Niigata Prefectural Police have arrested a 43-year-old man on suspicion of starting a fire that killed an elderly female acquaintance in Joetsu City earlier this year, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Apr. 5).

On the night of February 18, Keishi Kiyono started a fire in the residence of 70-year-old Taki Akiyama, who was later confirmed dead at a hospital as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Kiyono, who has been accused of murder and arson inside an inhabited structure, admits to starting the blaze but denies having an intent to kill.

According to police, Akiyama lived alone. The fire burned itself out after consuming less than 1 square meter of floor space. When Akiyama was found, her arms were bound, which led police to suspect foul play.

The suspect was acquainted with the victim. According to TBS News (Apr. 5), police are investigating whether the motive for the incident was sexual assault.

Until March, Kiyono was working at a nursing home. Before quitting in late March, he was in charge assisting residents with meals, bathing assistance and training. After the death of Akiyama, the suspect worked his usual shifts, according to the facility.

The arrest is the second for Kiyono. In March, police first arrested the suspect for trespassing into a residence in Miyoko City and stealing a ring valued at around 10,000 yen.