Japan's 'Black Widow' sentenced to death for murdering lovers
08 November, 2017, 02:16 | Author: Irene Delgado
A one-time millionairess dubbed the "Black Widow" over the untimely deaths of lovers and a husband was sentenced to death Tuesday, in a high-profile murder case that has gripped Japan.
The Kyoto District Court acknowledged that Chisako Kakehi, 70, used cyanide in the four cases and determined that she is competent to stand trial and can be held responsible for the crimes despite having been diagnosed with dementia in a psychiatric test.
Judge Ayako Nakagawa called it "a heinous crime driven by greed for money".
Kakehi, also known as "the Poison Lady", killed the men after they made her the beneficiary of life insurance policies, prosecutors said. "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.
The court ruled that Kakehi was the only person with the victims at the time of their deaths and had immediately applied for her inheritance each time.
Nakagawa rejected defence lawyers' arguments that Kakehi was not criminally liable because she was suffering from dementia.
Like the spider she is named after, she delivered death by poison - getting the men to down cyanide passed off as a health cocktail.
The court underlined that Kakehi did not suffer dementia when she committed the last crime in December 2013.
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But later that week, she backtracked, saying she did not remember admitting to the killing.
She had earlier told judges she was ready to face the gallows.
She reportedly inherited around one billion yen (Rs 57 crore approximately) in all, although she later lost some of it through the stock market. Three other men romantically linked to her had also died, although she was not charged for their deaths.
Kakehi first married at the age of 24 and was involved with more than 10 men.
She is married with four of them and made them acquainted through marriage agencies, which to him had, at his request, older men, wealthy, without children and living alone.
Her first husband died in 1994 and the business later went bust, prompting her to take out massive loans.
The trial was held under Japan's lay judge system, which involves citizen judges.
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