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Japanese Man Sentenced to Death for 2016 Deadly Knife Attack on Disabled Patients

FILE - Satoshi Uematsu, suspected of a deadly attack at a facility for the disabled, is seen inside a police car as he is taken to prosecutors, at Tsukui police station in Sagamihara, Kanagawa prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 27, 2016.

The Japanese man who killed 19 disabled patients in a brutal knife attack in 2016 has been sentenced to death by hanging.

Satoshi Uematsu was convicted and sentenced Monday in the Yokohama District Court of the rampage that also left 26 others wounded, making it the worst mass killing in Japan’s post-World War II era.

The 30-year-old Uematsu once worked as a caregiver at the residential center for disabled people, located just outside of Tokyo. His lawyers contended their client’s judgement was impaired due to an overuse of marijuana, but Uematsu later claimed he was responsible for the attack, telling the court he wanted to get rid of people he believed were a burden on society.

Prosecutors say Uematsu was admitted to a psychiatric hospital after telling his co-workers of his plans, but was released after less than two weeks.

Judge Kiyoshi Aonuma dismissed the defense’s arguments, calling Uematsu’s actions “premeditated” and “extreme.”

The attack shocked a nation where violent crime is rare, but where the disabled are stigmatized and face persistent prejudice.