Details emerge of Japan triple murder crime scene

The Yomiuri Shimbun

SAITAMA — A couple who were murdered Sunday in Hanno, Saitama Prefecture, were found lying in the garden on the south side of their property, while their daughter, who was also slain, was found near the entrance on the north side, investigators said Wednesday.

A nearby security camera captured footage of a man — believed to be the suspect Jun Saito — striking the victims outdoors. The Saitama prefectural police are trying to determine the course of events based on the locations of the bodies, among other elements.

The incident occurred shortly after 7 a.m. on Sunday. American citizen William Ross Bishop Jr., 69; his wife Izumi Morita, 68; and their daughter Sophianna Megumi Morita, 32, who was visiting her parents at the time of the incident, were found dead after being struck on the head and neck with what appears to have been a blunt object.

The victims’ bodies had defensive wounds on their arms and elsewhere. The security camera captured part of the attack outdoors, but bloodstains were also found inside the house.

Additionally, a fire burned an about 30-square-meter area on the first and second floors of the property. A constituent of kerosene was detected on both floors and a partially melted empty polyethylene tank was found in a room.

Police seized bloodstained clothing and other items from Saito’s house, which is about 60 meters from the crime scene. The police are checking to determine if the blood matches that of the victims. Several blunt objects and an axe-like instrument were also found, but these reportedly had no significant traces of blood.

Saito continues to refuse to answer questions, even after being sent to prosecutors Tuesday on a charge of murdering Bishop. The police also plan to open cases of suspected murder over the deaths of Izumi and Sophianna after further confirming the circumstances of the morning of the killings.

There have been no reports about Saito having disputes with his other neighbors, and the police continue to investigate his motive for targeting the Bishop family.