Black Widow: Japanese serial killer loses death sentence appeal

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The trial in 2017, which lasted more than four months, heard that she had joined matchmaking services and specifically requested to meet men who were rich and childless.

Japan’s ‘Black Widow’ serial killer loses death sentence appeal

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Tokyo (CNN) Japan’s Supreme Court has upheld a death sentence given to a 74-year-old serial killer, known as the “Black Widow,” for the murder of three men, including her husband, and the attempted murder of a fourth.

Chisako Kakehi, reportedly received large insurance payouts after poisoning her victims with cyanide, according to public broadcaster NHK

Kakehi was sentenced to death in 2017 for the killings, which occurred between 2007 and 2013 in Kyoto, Osaka and Hyogo.

Kakehi’s legal team had appealed the death sentence, arguing she was suffering from dementia and incapable of taking part in a criminal trial. The Supreme Court rejected her appeal, however, and finalized the decision on Tuesday, according to Kakehi’s lawyer.

“She used the matchmaking agency to get acquainted with elderly victims one after another and poisoned them after making them trust her,” said Judge Yuriko Miyazaki in the ruling, according to NHK. “It is a ruthless crime based on a planned and strong murderous intention.”

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Japan’s top court upholds death penalty for ‘black widow’ serial killer

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the death sentence given to a 74-year-old woman dubbed the “black widow” for murdering her husband and two common-law partners with poison in western Japan between 2012 and 2013 to inherit money and escape debt.

Chisako Kakehi | KYODO

The top court rejected an appeal by Chisako Kakehi in line with prosecutors’ demands, clearing the way for her death sentence to be finalized soon.

Kakehi’s lawyers had earlier this month demanded another psychiatric evaluation for her, claiming her dementia has gotten progressively worse and she does not understand that she has been taking part in a criminal trial.

According to lower court rulings, Kakehi murdered her 75-year-old husband, Isao Kakehi, and common-law partners Masanori Honda, 71, and Minoru Hioki, 75, as well as trying to kill her acquaintance Toshiaki Suehiro, 79, by having them drink cyanide between 2007 and 2013.

The killings in western Japan drew public attention, with the media portraying her as a woman who preyed on wealthy and older men.

Kakehi, who registered with a matchmaking service, married or was associated with more than 10 men and inherited about ¥1 billion ($9 million), but she eventually fell into debt following her attempts to speculate in stock and futures trading.