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‘Black widow’ likely to plead not guilty to cyanide murders

Kyodo

A woman dubbed the “black widow,” who is accused of murdering her husband and other partners with cyanide, is expected to plead not guilty to all charges in her upcoming trial, sources close to the matter said.

Documents submitted by lawyers for 69-year-old defendant Chisako Kakehi indicate she will likely deny the charges of murder and attempted murder-robbery involving four men, the sources said Wednesday. The papers were presented during pretrial talks at the Kyoto District Court.

A lay judge trial for the four cases will be held at the court, but the date of the first hearing has yet to be set.

Kakehi has been indicted over the killings of her 75-year-old husband Isao, and common-law husbands Masanori Honda, 71, and Minoru Hioki, 75, as well as the attempted murder-robbery of 79-year-old acquaintance Toshiaki Suehiro.

During questioning after her arrests, Kahehi admitted involvement in all four cases, saying she had the men take cyanide in capsule form.

But her defense counsel will insist on her innocence in the trial, countering the prosecution argument on her criminal responsibility and the cause of the victims’ deaths, according to the sources.

Kakehi was first arrested and then indicted in late 2014 over the murder of her husband Isao, who died at their home in Kyoto Prefecture in December 2013. They had married the previous month.

She was indicted in February last year on a charge of killing Honda in March 2012 by poisoning him with a lethal dose of cyanide at a coffee shop in Osaka.

According to the indictment, she also tried to kill Suehiro by having him ingest cyanide in December 2007 to avoid paying debts owed to him. He died of gastric malignant lymphoma around 18 months afterward.

Last September, Kakehi was charged with murdering Hioki in September 2013 by having him take a lethal dose of cyanide at a restaurant in Hyogo Prefecture.

Of more than 10 men romantically involved with or associated with Kakehi, eight are known to have died, enabling her to inherit some ¥1 billion ($8.9 million) in total, according to investigative sources.