'Black Widow' sentenced to death in Japan

Katrina Barker
November 8, 2017

A serial killer dubbed the "black widow" was handed a death sentence Tuesday over the murders of her husband and two common-law partners, as well as the attempted murder of an acquaintance, between 2007 and 2013.

Chisako Kakehi, aged 70, has been called during his trial the " black widow", in reference to this spider devouring the male after mating.

According to the ruling, Kakehi murdered her 75-year-old husband Isao, common-law partners Masanori Honda, 71, and Minoru Hioki, 75, and tried to kill her acquaintance Toshiaki Suehiro, 79, by having them drink cyanide.

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.

She reportedly amassed one billion yen ($8.8m) in payouts over 10 years but subsequently lost most of the fortune through unsuccessful financial trading.

Kyoto District Court sentenced Kakehi for the murder of three men, including a husband.

In July, she confessed to having killed her fourth husband. But following his death in 1994, the business went bankrupt and her house was put up for auction, prompting her to ask neighbors for a loan.

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

"The cases were well prepared in advance".

She registered with a matchmaking service to find wealthy men - she married or was associated with more than ten - and inherited more than £6m, but fell into debt, the newspaper reports.

Prosecutors have said the men perished at her hands after making her the beneficiary of life assurance policies that ran into millions of dollars.

The justice rejected the argument of his lawyers who contended that the accused was suffering from dementia and that therefore it could not be held criminally responsible. "I will laugh it off and die if I am sentenced to death tomorrow", she was reported as saying.

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

Yesterday, presiding judge Akiko Nakagawa said: "It was an extremely malicious and shrewd crime borne only out of a greed for money".

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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