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Japan begins trial for ‘Breaking Bad’ attempted murder

Yoko Kage on trial in Tochigi
Yoko Kage on trial in Tochigi

TOCHIGI (TR) – The Utsunomiya District Court began on Thursday the trial of a woman who allegedly tried to murder her estranged husband by mixing a deadly poison into his shochu distilled spirit, the Sankei Shimbun reports (June 16).

Yoko Kage, 33, is charged with attempted murder for allegedly plotting to kill her estranged 34-year-old husband by spiking his shochu distilled spirit with ricin, a deadly odorless poison derived from castor beans that was repeatedly featured on hit TV show “Breaking Bad.”

Prosecutors said in their opening statement that Kage’s motives stemmed from an inability to spend money as she liked because of her husband’s money management as well as him sending her meager amounts of money to support her living expenses, which caused her “frustrations and hatred to explode.”

The defense argued that Kage was “suffering from a deteriorating mental state because of her husband’s violence and his corporal punishment of their children.”

“The defendant did not possess a strong intent to murder because she did not have a precise recognition of the toxicity of ricin,” the defense said, seeking leniency from the judge as they added the defendant deeply regrets her actions.

“Time after time, she was suffering violence from her husband. The incident came about because the defendant tried to make things work by attempting to talk to him, but he never listened,” TBS News quoted the defense as saying.

A ruling is expected to be delivered on June 21.

“A terrifying person”

According to the indictment, Kage allegedly attempted to murder her husband by mixed ricin into a paper carton of shochu at his residence around 3 p.m. last year on Oct. 29.

TBS News reported that prosecutors submitted as evidence a five-minute security camera recording of Kage in the kitchen of her husband’s residence, where she is seen pouring a yellow liquid into a paper carton of shochu and shaking it with both hands before returning it to its original position.

Kage maintained a blank expression as she watched the footage, TBS News said.

The prosecution called Kage’s husband as a witness, who testified he was poisoned on another occasion and felt pain that could be compared to death itself.

“I remember thinking she was a terrifying person,” Kage’s husband told the court. “I want to divorce her quickly for the sake of my own children, and I never want her to appear before our eyes ever again.”

Nippon News Network said Kage remained expressionless as she sat and listened to his testimony.

“I thought the color [of the shochu] was strange, but I drank it anyway,” NNN quoted Kage’s husband as saying in court. “I was thinking I might die if this goes on, but I was able to endure it because of my daughter.”