KYOTO: A one-time millionairess dubbed the “Black Widow” over the untimely deaths of lovers and a husband, admitted poisoning her last partner at her trial this week in a multiple murder case that has gripped Japan. Chisako Kakehi, 70, has become notorious over accusations she dispatched a number of elderly men she was involved with, drawing comparisons with the spider that kills its mate after copulation.
Kakehi is on trial for the murders of three men — including a husband — and the attempted murder of another, all to allow her to collect on insurance policies. Prosecutors suspect she used cyanide to rid herself of her lovers, amassing a reported one billion yen ($8.8 million) in payouts over 10 years. Her trial began in late June, but this week she stunned the court by telling judges it was true she had murdered her fourth husband in 2013. “I was waiting for the right timing as I wanted to kill him out of deep hatred,” the Asahi newspaper quoted her as saying on Monday.
The Fuji television network quoted her as saying on Monday that the crime was just “an issue of money.” But on Wednesday, Kakehi appeared to step back from those statements. “I don’t remember (what I said)”, she testified, according to the Mainichi daily. Kakehi’s lawyers have argued she is not guilty of murdering Isao Kakehi on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Kyoto District Court said last year that medical examinations found that Kakehi had early-stage dementia but was fit to stand trial. If convicted or murder she could face the death penalty. Kakehi shrugged off the prospect on Monday, saying “I’d be happy to die if you give me a drug now,” according to the Asahi.