A woman on death row for drugging and killing two men has died after choking on prison food. Miyuki Ueta, who was found guilty of double murder and robbery in connection with the deaths of two men in 2009, died on Saturday night in the Hiroshima Detention Facility. Ueta was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead after some time.
According to reports, Ueta was already under medication and choked on the food all of a sudden. She was taken to the hospital earlier also for choking on her food but this time it proved fatal. However, police don't suspect there was any foul play involved in the incident.
Punished for Her Deeds
According to NHK, Ueta was found collapsed at around 4.30 pm. The prison staff desperately tried to remove the food from her throat before she was rushed to the hospital. However, she was declared dead at around 7 pm.
Her cause of death was ruled suffocation due to choking on her food.
The 49-year-old former bar employee was also sent to the hospital four days earlier after choking on her food, according to a report in The Japan Times.
Japanese convicts generally are given healthy food in prison that includes items like full grain barley mixed with rice, low-fat vegetable meals, miso soup, and grilled fish.
Ueta was believed to be one of the most notorious women criminals in Japan, a country where crime rate is among the lowest in the world.
Ueta killed Hideki Maruyama, 57, by drugging him with sleeping pills and drowning him in a river six months after killing Kazumi Yabe, a 47-year-old truck driver, in 2009.
Died Like Her Victims
Ueta died almost in a similar manner to his victims, who too had been choked to death by her after they were drugged. However, the murderer insisted throughout that she was innocent despite owing money to both victims.
The jury's decisions were primarily supported by circumstantial evidence, including the fact that Ueta was the last person to see both men before they vanished and that she had purchased sleeping pills immediately before their untimely deaths.
She received a death sentence in 2012, and the Supreme Court rejected her appeal in 2017.
The offender committed "cruel crimes based on firm intentions to kill," the judges said at the time of her sentencing.
Son of murder victim Hideki Maruyama expressed surprise at her sudden death. "It's been 14 years since my father died, and I'm surprised that a death row inmate died in this way. Since then, I think it's been taking too long without being executed," he told NHK.
"Every day I put my hands on my father at the Buddhist altar in my house, and tonight I'd like to put my hands together and report today."
There are a meager 105 prisoners on death row in Japan at present.