Japan's "black widow" serial killer was today sentenced to death by hanging for killing her husband and two common-law partners. She obtained the poison while running a printing plant and investigators discovered a small packet of the poison buried in a flower pot.
The court underlined that Kakehi did not suffer dementia when she committed the last crime in December 2013.
Due to a lack of physical evidence showing her involvement in the cases, with, for example, cyanide compounds that she is believed to have used not being identified, the focus of the trial was the court's judgment on circumstantial evidence collected by the prosecutors. For over ten years, she had amassed a fortune of one billion yen (7.6 million euros) in the form of life insurance, real estate and bank deposits, according to the press.
Kakehi was arrested in 2014 after her fourth husband, 75, was found dead in their home a month after the couple married. However, the one-time millionairess went bankrupt and was debt-ridden.
Kakehi has lamented her lot in life to reporters and insisted she is the victim of unfortunate events. They accused her of plotting her crimes well in advance, including helping to prepare notary documents linked to wills. "Even if I were executed tomorrow, I would die smiling", the accused told judges.
Prosecutors sought capital punishment while her defense counsel pleaded not guilty to the crime due to a lack of physical evidence, also arguing that she can not be held responsible as she suffers from dementia. She earned an inheritance of approximately 1bn yen (£6.88m, $8.84m) but now it has been said that she lost much of her wealth through financial trading.
This is the second-longest court case in Japan involving a jury since 2009, lasting 135 days.
The presiding judge, Ayako Nakagawa, stated that extenuating mental health issues could not explain away the extreme nature of her history, saying, "It was a heinous crime driven by greed for money".