. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Cult Doctor Testifies

TOKYO () -- Testifying at the trial of doomsday cult leader Shoko Asahara, a former senior disciple said Thursday the lethal nerve gas attack on Tokyo's subways was an effort to keep Asahara out of police hands.

"Asahara instructed the murder," said Dr. Ikuo Hayashi, a former heart surgeon. "In my mind, the attack was justified by his teachings."

Hayashi also said he believed the victims' lives would not be wasted because Asahara could rescue their spirits.

By early March 1995, Asahara knew that police were after him and wanted something to distract them, Hayashi said.

At his own trial, Hayashi already has pleaded guilty to murder charges in the March 1995 Tokyo subway gassing that killed 12 people and sickened thousands.