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

08 November 2017

All of her wealthy victims were older than 70, and she met some of them through dating sites for wealthy singles.

A Japanese woman dubbed the "Black Widow" has been sentenced to death for tricking elderly lovers into drinking cyanide and pocketing millions in insurance payouts and inheritance.

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

The serial killer kept some of her cyanide in a plant pot which she later threw out, according to prosecutors.

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Judge Nakagawa noted that cyanide was detected in one of the three murdered victims and the man who survived, and recognized that the other two died of cyanide poisoning based on their condition when they were taken to hospital by ambulance.

She was also accused of killing her common-law partners Masanori Honda, 71, and Minoru Hioki, 75, and for attempting to murder acquaintance Toshiaki Suehiro, 79.

Her lawyers immediately appealed Tuesday's ruling to a higher court, suggesting the trial could continue for years.

Chisako was arrested in November 2014 and indicted after her fourth partner and husband, Isao, died in December 2013, a month after they got married.

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"The cases were well prepared in advance".

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.

Asked whether she was fully aware of the potential repercussions to the admission, Kakehi said "yes".

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 made over $8.8 million in insurance payouts over a decade, though supposedly lost most of it in the stock market.

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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". Having opened in June, it was the second-longest of its kind, with 135 days spent examining the case.

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