Japan's 'black widow' serial killer gets death sentence

Japan's 'black widow' serial killer gets death sentence

Kakehi later registered with a matchmaking service, specifically asking to meet wealthy men with an annual income of more than 10 million yen ($87,900).

A Japanese woman who killed three men, one of whom was her husband, by slipping them cyanide in their beverages, will be hanged in accordance with Japan's law relating to multiple murderers.

The media dubbed her "black widow" in reference to a female spider that kills its mates after sex. Later the prosecution indicted her for the deaths of the two other men.

The judge said that her acts were serial murders by poisoning with the aim of acquiring inheritances or escaping from debts.

Shortly after the ruling, Kakehi's lawyers filed an appeal with a higher court, suggesting the high-profile trial could yet drag on.

Prosecutors said Kakehi used cyanide to kill her lovers and received $8 million in insurance payouts.

Kyoto District Court handed out the sentence to Chisako Kakehi, 70, for the murder of three men-including a husband-and for the attempted murder of another.

First diagnosed with mild dementia in 2016, Kakehi said she had trouble remembering events shortly after her arrest. 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.

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The court underlined that Kakehi did not suffer dementia when she committed the last crime in December 2013.

"The cases were well prepared in advance".

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 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".

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

But the defence argued that much of the case rested on circumstantial evidence, and there was no evidence directly pinning Kakehi to the deaths - including how she had obtained and stored the cyanide.

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

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