Japan's 'Black Widow' sentenced to death by hanging

Japan's 'Black Widow' sentenced to death by hanging

Though Kakehi was diagnosed with dementia in 2016, she supposedly showed no signs of it when she attempted to murder her acquaintance, Toshiaki Suehiro, in 2013. Her lawyers plan to appeal the sentence.

Nakagawa said Kakehi "made light of human lives" as she repeatedly committed the killings, adding that she offered "almost no words of apology" and had not reflected on her crimes.

I have no choice but to impose the ultimate penalty,"BBC quoted Judge Ayako Nakagawa".

Prosecutors had maintained that in all four cases, the victims were tricked into drinking cyanide given to them by a debt-ridden Kakehi, who had sought to inherit their assets. She had said later to the judges that she was ready to face the death penalty: "Even if I was being executed tomorrow, I would die with a smile ".

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.

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.

Kakehi has lamented her lot in life to reporters and insisted she is the victim of unfortunate events. She was later indicted in connection with the deaths of Honda from Osaka Prefecture and Hioki from Hyogo Prefecture.

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They also found paraphernalia for administering drugs and medical books at an apartment she kept south of Kyoto.

She was arrested in 2014, after her fourth husband Isao Kakehi, 75, was found dead in his home near Kyoto in December 2013, about a month after they had married.

But then, in a testimony in July, she shocked a courtroom by admitting to killing her fourth husband, according to Mainichi daily newspaper. She chose her future partners on dating agencies, the main criterion being their annual income - it had to be more than 10 million yen ($87,900).

She reportedly amassed one billion yen ($8.8 million) in payouts over 10 years but subsequently lost most of the fortune through unsuccessful financial trading.

A court-appointed physician said previous year that Kakehi's case of dementia was mild and that she was fit to stand trial.

Her first husband died in 1994 and the business later went bust, prompting her to take out massive loans.

This is the second-longest court case in Japan involving a jury since 2009, lasting 135 days.

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