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

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, a Japanese female serial killer was sentenced to death for the murders of three men. She is also suspected of being responsible for at least seven other deaths.

Kakehi was arrested in 2014 after an autopsy on her fourth husband, Isao Kakehi, revealed traces of cyanide poisoning.

She initially pleaded not guilty. In her 2017 trial, she confessed, stating on the witness stand that she had no intention of hiding the guilt and wanted to kill her husband out of deep hatred. Two days later, she retracted this confession, claiming to not remember having said it. Her lawyers subsequently argued that she suffered from dementia and could not be convicted due to diminished responsibility.

Kakehi became known in Japanese media as the Black Widow, after the female spider which kills its mates after sex.

Black widow is a woman who kills her husband or lover, especially one who kills multiple husbands or lovers. The first and best-known Black Widow is a Russian agent trained as a spy, martial artist, and sniper, outfitted with an arsenal of high-tech weaponry, including a pair of wrist-mounted energy weapons dubbed her “Widow’s Bite”.

Two years ago, a high court dismissed an appeal by the serial killer who pocketed millions in insurance payouts and inheritance.

Supreme Court presiding judge Yuko Miyazaki said “the death sentence is unavoidable”. He says that this is because Kakehi’s “criminal responsibility is extremely grave”, public broadcaster NHK reported.

“Even with considerations of favorable circumstances, such as being old, the death penalty is unavoidable,” Miyazaki added

The date of her death sentence has not been released.

Kakehi reportedly amassed one billion yen ($9 million) in payouts over 10 years but lost her fortune through unsuccessful financial trading.

Cyanide was found in the body of at least two of the men she was involved with. The police reportedly found traces of the poison in the rubbish at her Kyoto home.

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