Suspect sent to prosecutors in case of triple murder in Japan

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Suspect Jun Saito is sent to prosecutors in Saitama Prefecture on Tuesday morning.

SAITAMA — The suspect in the death of three people in Saitama Prefecture was sent to prosecutors Tuesday on a charge of murdering one of the victims.

The three people found dead on Sunday morning at a house in Hanno in the prefecture have been identified as the married couple that lived there and their daughter, according to the Saitama prefectural police. They are William Ross Bishop Jr., a 69-year-old American citizen; his wife Izumi Morita, 68; and their 32-year-old daughter Sophianna Megumi Morita, a company employee who lived in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward.

From left: William Ross Bishop Jr., Izumi Morita and Sophianna Megumi Morita

Police on Sunday took into custody Jun Saito, a 40-year-old unemployed man who lives near the crime scene. Initially arrested on suspicion of the attempted murder of Bishop, Saito was sent to the Saitama District Public Prosecutors Office on Tuesday after the charge was changed to murder.

He is believed to have deliberately killed Bishop, who died of nerve damage to the neck. There were signs that Bishop was attacked inside the house and chased outside, where he was allegedly struck by Saito with a blunt object.

William Ross Bishop Jr.

According to the police, Saito allegedly tried to kill Bishop shortly after 7 a.m. Sunday. Saito lives alone in a house about 60 meters from the crime scene.

Several blunt objects that Saito is believed to have used in the attack were seized from his home. Investigative sources said these items included an object that resembled an ax.

An autopsy revealed that Bishop died as a result of damage to his cervical spinal cord, caused by severe blows to the neck. He and his wife were found lying in the yard and their daughter near the front door.

Part of the couple’s two-story house was on fire. The fire department said components of kerosene were detected in rooms on both levels.

Police suspect Saito may have set the fire after attacking the three people. He is said to have refused to talk about the case.

Investigators raided Saito’s house and arrested him at around 10 p.m. Sunday. Saito was on the second floor at that time and placed things in front of the door in an attempt to prevent investigators from reaching him.