Japan woman gets death sentence in partner serial killings

Chisako Kakehi

Chisako Kakehi

A 70-year-old Japanese woman, known as the "black widow", has been given death sentence after she was found guilty of murdering her husband and two partners.

Kakehi has lamented her lot in life to reporters and insisted she is the victim of unfortunate events.

The Guardian reports that 70-year-old Chisako Kakehi earned millions in insurance payouts and inheritance from her four deceased lovers, amassing to one billion yen in payouts of 10 years.

Kakehi has become notorious over accusations she dispatched a number of elderly men she was involved with, drawing comparisons with the spider that kills its mate after copulation. She would then trick them into making her the beneficiary of their insurance payouts and later kill them using cyanide which she had kept hidden in a plant pot at her home.

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Kakehi was arrested in November 2014 and later charged with killing her fourth husband in December 2013. He died on Dec 28, 2013, only a month after their marriage.

She would befriend the elderly men through a matchmaking agency, usually going for those who are childless and well-to-do. But following his death in around 1994, the factory went bankrupt and her house was put up for auction, leading her to ask neighbors for a loan.

"The cases were well prepared in advance".

More than 560 people queued for 51 seats in the courtroom to witness the outcome of the marathon trial, which lasted 135 days.

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The court rejected arguments from defense lawyers that Kakehi was not criminally liable because she was suffering from dementia. I have no intention of hiding the guilt. "The death sentence can not be avoided even after fully taking into account dementia and other factors", presiding Judge Ayako Nakagawa said in the ruling. But she quickly retracted her confession.

Due to a lack of physical evidence showing her involvement in the cases, with, for example, cyanide compounds that she is believed to have used not being identified, the focus of the trial was the court's judgment on circumstantial evidence collected by the prosecutors.

The presiding judge, Ayako Nakagawa, stated that extenuating mental health issues could not explain away the extreme nature of her history, saying, "It was a heinous crime driven by greed for money".

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