The Kyoto district court has brought an end to the high-profile case that has gripped the country. 70-year old Chisako Kaheki, otherwise known as the ‘Black Widow’, has been sentenced to hang after murdering three men and attempting to murder another.
Kaheki’s case became infamous when it was discovered she was using cyanide to poison the men she was involved with, leading her to be compared to the spider that kills its mate after copulation.
The prosecutors said that she killed the men after she was a beneficiary of their life insurance policies which amounted to millions of yen. She gathered one billion yen in payouts over a period of ten years but lost most of this fortune as a result of poor financial trading.
Kaheki reportedly had relationships with many men, the majority of which were ill or elderly. She met some of these men through dating agencies where she said she would want a partner who was wealthy and childless.
It has been reported that the ‘Black Widow’ had stashed some of her cyanide in a plant pot that she threw out later. The poison was found in at least 2 of the men she had been involved with. The police announced that they found traces of cyanide in the rubbish at her home in Kyoto. They also found paraphernalia used for administering drugs at an apartment she owned in South Kyoto.
Her defence lawyers argued that she could not be criminally liable as she was suffering from dementia, but this was quickly dismissed by the judge. Judge Ayako Nakagawa told the court that “the accused made the victims drink a cyanide compound with a murderous intention in all four cases”.
When Kaheki’s trial started in June she refused to speak but later shocked the court by admitting to killing her fourth husband in 2013. According to Jiji Press she said “I killed him… because he gave other women tens of millions of yen but did not give me even a penny”. She then told the judge she was ready to be hanged and that she “would die smiling”.
In spite of this, her lawyers are reportedly planning to appeal to a higher court, so this high-profile case may not be over yet. Japan is known for having one of the lowest crime rates throughout the world, could this case be a sign of change?