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08 November 2017, 01:13 | Kara Nash
'Black widow', 70, is sentenced to hang for murdering elderly lovers and pocketing millions in insurance payouts in Japan
A 70-year-old Japanese woman, known as the "black widow", has been given death sentence after she was found guilty of murdering her husband and two partners.
Kakehi was convicted of the murders of her 75-year-old husband and two common-law partners, as well as the attempted murder of a fourth man, between 2007 to 2013, The Japan Times says. All four men were aged over 70.
"It was a heinous crime driven by greed for money", the judge said.
Kakehi, who was sentenced in Kyoto, became notorious after using the poison cyanide to dispatch a number of elderly men she was involved with, drawing comparisons with the spider that kills its mate after copulation.
"Even if I were executed tomorrow, I would die smiling", Kakehi reportedly told judges. Defense lawyers immediately appealed the ruling.
A court-appointed physician said past year that Kakehi's case of dementia was mild and that she was fit to stand trial.
Defense lawyers, however, argued that Kakehi could not be held responsible, saying her dementia had progressed and that she was unable to comprehend that she was defending herself at trial.
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While dismissing the possibility of suicide, accident or the involvement of persons other than Kakehi in the cases, the judge said the accused took extraordinary acts, such as inheritance procedures, soon after the incidents. She said her husband treated her unfairly when it came to finances, giving more money to a woman he previously dated than to her.
Kakehi used to befriend wealthy and mostly elderly and sick men who did not have any children.
But later that week, she backtracked, saying she did not remember admitting to the killing.
Isao died at the couple's home in Muko, Kyoto Prefecture, in December 2013, about a month after their marriage. But following his death in around 1994, the factory went bankrupt and her house was put up for auction, leading her to ask neighbors for a loan.
The trial was held under the nation's lay judge system, which involves citizen judges. Having opened in June, it was the second longest of its kind, with 135 days spent on examining the case.
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