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

·2-min read
This picture taken on 13 March 2014 shows 67-year-old Japanese woman Chisako Kakehi, who was arrested in Kyoto on suspicion of poisoning her husband with cyanide in the latest ‘Black Widow’ case (AFP via Getty Images)
This picture taken on 13 March 2014 shows 67-year-old Japanese woman Chisako Kakehi, who was arrested in Kyoto on suspicion of poisoning her husband with cyanide in the latest ‘Black Widow’ case (AFP via Getty Images)

Japan’s Supreme Court upheld the death penalty of a 74-year old Japanese woman who was convicted by a lower court in 2017 for the murder of three men, including her husband, and the attempted murder of a fourth man.

Dubbed as the “Black Widow”, Chisako Kakehi lost her appeal against execution in the top court, paving the way for her sentence to be finalised.

She had moved court through her lawyer arguing that she suffers from dementia and therefore, has difficulty understanding legal proceedings.

“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, reported CNN. “It is a ruthless crime based on a planned and strong murderous intention.”

Kakehi was arrested in 2014 on suspicion of poisoning her 75-year-old husband, Isao Kakehi after an autopsy report found traces of cyanide in his blood. He had died in 2013, within months of their wedding.

Subsequently, the court found her guilty of murder of her husband and common-law partners Masanori Honda, 71, and Minoru Hioki, 75, and for trying to kill an acquaintance, Toshiaki Suehiro, 79, by making them drink cyanide.

The victims, all aged between 50 and 80, are among the six men who died while in relation with her. She has not been charged with the other three deaths.

The prosecutors argued that Kakehi pocketed millions in inheritance and insurance payouts after killing her victims, reported AFP. She reportedly lost much of her fortune in the stock markets and fell into debt.

The murders took place between 2007 and 2013 and drew a huge amount of media attention for preying on rich and elderly men, earning her the nickname of “Black Widow” after a spider that kills its mate after copulation.

In November 2017, though, the Kyoto District Court acknowledged that Kakehi had developed dementia around 2015, it however ordered that she was fit to stand the trial as her symptoms were not serious, reported the Japan Times.

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