Japan's 'Black Widow' sentenced to death for murdering lovers

Japan's 'Black Widow' sentenced to death for murdering lovers

Japan's 'Black Widow' sentenced to death for murdering lovers

Kyoto District Court condemned Chisako Kakehi, 70, to the gallows for the murder of three men - including a husband - and for the attempted murder of another, ending a high-profile case that has gripped the country.

'Even if I were executed tomorrow, I would die smiling, ' Kakehi told judges.

She had unexpectedly confessed to the murder of her husband during the 135-day trial, despite her lawyers entering not guilty pleas and saying that senile dementia prevented her from understanding the proceedings.

Judge Ayako Nakagawa said Kakehi was fully responsible for her actions at the time, and that it was a carefully premeditated crime aimed at amassing inheritance money.

The Japan Times reports that Kakehi caused her husband and common law partners, all of whom were in their seventies, to drink cyanide, calling it a "health cocktail".

Chisako is accused of using the deadly poison cyanide to kill her lovers.

Defense lawyers argued Kakehi shouldn't be liable for the crimes because of a dementia diagnosis.

Nakagawa pointed out that Kakehi "made light of human lives" as she repeatedly committed the crimes.

She had earlier told judges she was ready to hang.

Kakehi, also known as "The Poison Lady", is said to have stashed some of her cyanide in a plant pot she later threw out.

But later that week, she backtracked, saying she did not remember admitting to the killing.

"I killed him. because he gave other women tens of millions of yen but did not give me even a penny", she told the court, according to Jiji Press. They had been married for one month. She was later indicted in connection with the deaths of Honda from Osaka Prefecture and Hioki from Hyogo Prefecture. 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.

During the trial, prosecutors described how the murders occurred after Kakehi joined a matchmaking service asking to meet rich men without children.

Kakehi reportedly married at least three times and had three other partners who died, all within a few years of starting relationships with her, and amassed about £6.7 million (1 billion yen) in inheritances over 10 years.

It was the second-longest court case involving a jury since Japan introduced a joint judge-jury system in 2009.

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