Japan's "black widow" serial killer sentenced to death

Japan's

Japan's "black widow" serial killer sentenced to death

Japan's notorious millionaire granny dubbed "Black Widow", who used to trick elderly lovers into making her beneficiary in insurance payouts and later poisoning them, has been sentenced to death in Japan on Tuesday.

Kyoto District Court sentenced Kakehi for the murder of three men, including a husband. "Even if I were executed tomorrow, I would die smiling", the accused told judges.

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 acquaintance Toshiaki Suehiro, 79, by having them drink cyanide. She said she "got angry" because her husband gave more money to a woman he had previously dated, and said she didn't care if she was execution.

According to media reports, his lawyers are planning to appeal to a higher court.

Saying Kakehi premeditated the crimes, including the preparation of notary documents, prosecutors called her actions "shrewd and despicable", as she tricked the victims into taking the cyanide by presenting it as healthy drink.

The court rejected arguments from defense lawyers that Kakehi was not criminally liable because she was suffering from dementia.

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But later that week, she backtracked, saying she did not remember admitting to the killing. The doctor who made the diagnosis, however, said Kekehi could be held legally responsible for any crimes committed during that time.

There was some controversy over the sentence, as Kakehi was exhibiting signs of early onset dementia at the time of the murders.

In July, she confessed to having killed her fourth husband.

Poison was found in the body of at least two men she was involved with, and police reportedly found traces of cyanide in rubbish at Kakchi's home.

She married first at the age of 24 and launched a fabric printing company in Osaka Prefecture with her first husband. But following his death in 1994, the business went bankrupt and her house was put up for auction, prompting her to ask neighbors for a loan. She earned an inheritance of approximately 1bn yen (£6.88m, $8.84m) but now it has been said that she lost much of her wealth through financial trading.

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