Japan's 'Black Widow' sentenced to death for murder

Japan's 'Black Widow' sentenced to death for murder

Japan's 'Black Widow' sentenced to death for murder

Japan's notorious millionaire granny dubbed "Black Widow", who used to trick elderly lovers into making her beneficiary in insurance payouts and later poisoning them, has been sentenced to death in Japan on Tuesday.

Kyoto District Court convicted Chisako Kakehi of the deaths, which occurred between 2007 and 2013. All four men were aged over 70.

Before her arrest in November 2014 on a charge of killing her husband Isao, Kakehi denied murdering him, saying, "I would never do that because I would be suspected", as she was the only person living with the victim.

"Even if I were executed tomorrow, I would die smiling", Kakehi previously told the judges. The defense filed an appeal.

Another focal point was whether Kakehi bears criminal responsibility, as the defense claimed that she was suffering from dementia at the time of the incidents.

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

In the case's first public hearing, Kakehi said she would leave everything to her lawyers, but her statements during proceedings lacked coherence, including a stunning confession that she had killed her husband in 2013.

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Nakagawa said Kakehi "made light of human lives" as she repeatedly committed the killings, adding that she offered "almost no words of apology" and had not reflected on her crimes.

Kakehi has lamented her lot in life to reporters and insisted she is the victim of unfortunate events.

She reportedly amassed one billion yen ($8.8m) in payouts over 10 years but subsequently lost most of the fortune through unsuccessful financial trading. Three other men romantically linked to her had also died, although she was not charged for their deaths.

Kakehi first Wednesday at the age of 24, launching a fabric-printing company in Osaka Prefecture with her first husband.

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. However, the one-time millionairess went bankrupt and was debt-ridden.

The trial was held under Japan's lay judge system, which involves citizen judges.

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