Japan's 'Black Widow' sentenced to death for killing partners

Chisako Kakehi

Chisako Kakehi

The murders appear to have been motivated by money, and she even met some of her victims through a matchmaking service that targeted men with a high income.

Japan's "Black Widow" serial killer-convicted in the deaths of her husband, two lovers, and the attempted murder of a fourth man-was sentenced to death by hanging on Tuesday, The Washington Post reported. She obtained the poison while running a printing plant and investigators discovered a small packet of the poison buried in a flower pot.

Like the spider she is named after, she delivered death by poison - getting the men to down cyanide passed off as a health cocktail.

During her trial, Kakehi maintained her innocence until July, when she made a surprise confession to killing her husband with poison. Kakehi then inherited money from the men, having previously worked with her victims to make legal documents naming her their heiress.

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Prosecutors said she used cyanide to rid herself of her lovers, amassing a reported one billion yen ($8.8 million) in payouts over 10 years.

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

Kakehi was first arrested in November 2014 and indicted the following month on a charge of killing her husband, who died at the couple's home in Muko, Kyoto Prefecture, in December 2013, about a month after their marriage.

"The cases were well prepared in advance".

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Nakagawa rejected defence lawyers' arguments that Kakehi was not criminally liable because she was suffering from dementia.

In the first public hearing, Kakehi said she would leave everything to her lawyers, but her statements lacked coherence and she once admitted to committing murder during proceedings. She reportedly lost the majority of her fortune through unsuccessful financial trading. "Even if I were executed tomorrow, I would die smiling", the accused told judges.

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

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