Japan's 'black widow' sentenced to death by hanging

Marie Harrington
November 8, 2017

Japan's "black widow" serial killer was today sentenced to death by hanging for killing her husband and two common-law partners. He rejected defence arguments that Kakehi suffered from dementia and was not criminally liable, noting that she did not have dementia when she committed the murders.

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. I will laugh it off and die if I am sentenced to death tomorrow", she was reported as saying.

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. She said her husband treated her unfairly when it came to finances, giving more money to a woman he previously dated than to her.

Chisako used to go for wealthy men and the men she has already killed were all in their 70s too.

It said Kakehi poisoned the victims with cyanide after becoming the beneficiary of their wills.

Kakehi's lawyers have filed an appeal, and if Kakehi's sentence is upheld, it could be a long time before her execution.

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Nakagawa said Kakehi "made light of human lives" and "almost no words of apology" for the crimes.

They even refuted her lawyers' claims that stated that Chisako should not be convicted on the grounds of diminished responsibility after she was diagnosed with early-stage dementia in 2016.

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.

She married first at the age of 24 and launched a fabric printing company in Osaka Prefecture with her first husband.

During the trial, prosecutors described how the murders occurred after Kakehi joined a matchmaking service asking to meet rich men without children. She made over $8.8 million in insurance payouts over a decade, though supposedly lost most of it in the stock market.

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

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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