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Japan’s ‘black widow’ handed death sentence by Kyoto court

Chisako Kakehi
Chisako Kakehi (TV Asahi)

KYOTO (TR) – A woman on trial in the poisoning deaths of several men, including a former husband, was sentenced to death last week by a court here.

At the Kyoto District Court on November 7, Chisako Kakehi, 70, was sentenced to death on four counts of murder, attempted murder and robbery.

“It was a heinous crime driven by greed for money. The death sentence cannot be avoided even after fully taking into account dementia and other factors,” said presiding judge Ayako Nakagawa, according to the Mainichi Shimbun (Nov. 7).

In 2013, Kakehi’s former husband, 75-year-old Isao, died after collapsing in his home in Muko City, Kyoto. His body was found to contain a lethal dose of hydrocyanic acid. Kyoto Prefectural Police first arrested Kakehi over his death the following year.

The other persons killed by Kakehi via lethal doses of cyanide include boyfriends Masanori Honda, 71, and 75-year-old Minoru Hioki. She attempted to kill acquaintance Toshiaki Suehiro, 79, also with cyanide.

The defense, which appealed the ruling, claimed the case lacked physical evidence to convict Kakehi and said she suffers from dementia.

A “black widow”

Described as a “black widow,” Kakehi has been married four times. During the investigation, police speculated Kakehi had been romantically linked to more than 10 men and played a role in the deaths of eight of them.

Police suspected that money was her motive. News outlets have reported that Kakehi had received up to 1 billion yen in inheritance following the deaths of the various men. The money is believed to have been squandered on poor investments.