Ex-nurse pleads guilty to serial murder in hospital

A former nurse at a Yokohama hospital pleaded guilty on Friday to serial hospital murders in 2016.

At the first hearing of a trial before a lay judge at Yokohama District Court, Ayumi Kuboki, 34, admitted to killing two 88-year-old men and a 78-year-old woman who were hospitalized in the former Oguchi hospital in the capital of Kanagawa. September 15-19, 2016. The murders were carried out by injecting an antiseptic into the patent IV bags, effectively poisoning them.

Kuboki reportedly injected four other patients.

The Yokohama District Attorney’s Office detained her for psychiatric tests and concluded that she was mentally competent enough to be held responsible for crimes.

At Friday’s hearing, prosecutors said Kuboki committed the acts out of fear of reprimanded by bereaved families if patients died under his watch.

Considering the results of a psychiatric test before her charge and other factors, she acted in a normal mental state and is therefore considered competent enough to be held responsible even though she suffered from a mild autism spectrum disorder, prosecutors said.

Meanwhile, her defense team said she was in a state of reduced capacity as she was badly affected by schizophrenia, citing the results of another psychiatric test taken after the indictment.

The court is due to render its decision on the case on November 9.

The old Oguchi hospital stopped accepting inpatients in its general ward in December 2016 after the discovery of suspicious inpatient deaths. The hospital changed its name in December 2017 and resumed accepting inpatients in February 2018.

After an arrest was made for the 2016 murders, the hospital suspended all activity.

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