The Suicide Pact Strangler
Suicidal ideation, or the fascination with and contemplation of the act of suicide, is always a terrifying specter. Life is hazardous enough, and when a person contemplates harming himself or herself, it is clear that they are in a vulnerable and frightened place. What kind of monster is it, then, that would take advantage of people on the verge of suicide for their own sick gratification?
The answer, as Japan found out in 2005, was Maeue Hiroshi. Maeue was to all outward appearances a normal man. He had a quiet childhood and adolescence. Despite Maeue’s unassuming exterior, however, there were a number of incidents that predicted his eventual dark crimes.
As a young man attending the Kanazawa Institute of Technology, he attempted to asphyxiate a male acquaintence. This led to him dropping out of the prestigious school just a short time later. In 1995, he was arrested for trying to strangle another man. Somehow, despite the severity of the crime, he was not prosecuted, though he was fired.
He choked two women in 2001, when he was given three years in prison, which was suspended. In 2002, he attempted to strangle a junior high school student, and was sentenced to nearly two years at this point.
Despite a clear and present pattern of attempting to harm others, he never crossed the line into killing them until a short while later. Maeue had a sexual paraphilia. Essentially, he was unable to become sexually aroused unless he was strangling someone else. This was something that eventually lead him to take his crimes one step further.
According to a 2005 poll, Japan ranks third in a poll regarding which countries are most prone to suicide. With rising pressures at every level of society, and some economic issues, it is no surprise to grim sociologists that some people would choose to end their lives.
To that end, Japan has several notorious suicide forums, where desperate people can go and talk with people who share their mindset. In some happy stories, the people find hope and resolve, stepping back from the precipice. In darker ones, they learn things like how to wrap up their affairs and various methods for ending their own lives.
Essentially, the people who frequent these suicide forums are extremely vulnerable. They are also extremely lonely, and for many, there is a horror and a grief at the idea of dying alone. The websites may also serve as a kind of dark personals service, where people who wish to commit suicide can find each other.
Maeue ended up on one popular suicide forum. He exchanged messages with a 25-year-old woman who was seeking to end her own life, and they made arrangements to meet. They agreed that they would light charcoal in a brazier while sitting in a closed car, something that would create a buildup of carbon monoxide gas. This would fill the car with carbon monoxide gas, leading to a painless death.
However, when the woman showed up for the meeting. Maeue strangled her with his bare hands instead. During his trial, he related that he wished to see the contortions of a victim’s face as they succumbed.
Maeue did this twice more, once with a 14 year old middle school student, and again with a college student. All three murders took place within a four month span in 2005. All three bodies were dumped on the mountain slopes near Osaka Prefecture, and they were recovered when Maeue was eventually caught.
He came peacefully enough, and his trial in 2006 took several months. During the trial, he said that it was likely that if released, he would do the same things in the same way. The prosecution quickly found evidence that he was in his right mind when he killed his victims, and authorities decided that he was very likely to repeat his crimes if he were released.
Finally, Maeue was sentenced to be hanged. He refused appeals, stating that he wished to atone for his crimes.
In 2009, Maeue was hanged for the crime of strangling three people.