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Murder spree in Yamaguchi followed disputes with residents

Friday Aug. 16

It was seven years ago, remembers a woman living in the small village of Mitake, located within the city of Shunan in Yamaguchi Prefecture. That was when Kosei Homi asked if he could take ownership of a golden retriever “whose eyes resemble that of my dad.”

He later named it Olive and sent photos to the woman after he took ownership.

On July 27, police turned Homi, a former construction worker, over to prosecutors on suspicion of murdering five people — whose ages ranged between 71 and 80 — and burning two residences.

Though a motive has not been divulged, weekly tabloid Friday (Aug. 16) says the 63-year-old engaged in disputes with the residents of the village, many of which centered on Olive.

“On the evening of July 21, two houses were completely burned. The bodies of Miyako Yamamoto, Makoto Sadamori and his spouse were found inside one,” says a local news reporter. “On the next day, the bodies of Satoko Kawamura and Fumito Ishimura were discovered inside another. The heads of all five appeared to have been injured with a wood stick.”

When officers visited the home of Homi, he was nowhere to be found. Five days later, police took him into custody on a mountain trail, roughly one kilometer from the burned structures. He had scratches on his face and was attired in an undershirt.

Homi moved to this community 13 years ago from Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture to take of his parents. According to local residents, Homi was known for having an abrasive and threatening personality. But he was endearing and sweet when interacting with his dog, which passed away due to a stroke immediately after Homi was arrested.

According to friends of the suspect, he had engaged in a number of arguments with neighbors over a rice paddy and the dog waste of Olive. Other news reports said that upon his return to the area the residents demanded that he share his retirement money.

“After deaths of his parents, he became isolated,” says the aforementioned local reporter. “A number of locals opposed him. In a bar, one guy poked him with a stick. He also apparently shared a story with a another member of the community detailing how a tractor he rented to groom public areas was destroyed in an arson fire.”

It was around this time that he posted a message in the form of a haiku poem on a window saying that people from the countryside enjoy smoke after something has been set on fire.

Friday says that a resident of the community was later seen laughing and pointing: “Hey, look at that window. There’s a funny message on it.”

Few people are laughing now. (K.N.)

Source: “Yamaguchi bokusatsu hoka han 63sai, migara kakuho 1pun ato ni aiken ga shinda,” Friday (Aug. 16, page 83)