Japan’s alleged ‘black widow’ admits killing husband

JIJI, Kyodo

A 70-year-old woman dubbed the “black widow” admitted Monday to fatally poisoning her husband.

“I killed my husband,” Chisako Kakehi said after taking the stand for the first time in her lay judge trial at the Kyoto District Court.

Besides murdering her husband, Isao Kakehi, who died in 2013 at age 75, Chisaki Kakehi is accused of using poison to kill her two common-law husbands and attempting to murder a boyfriend. Prosecutors allege these crimes were all committed between 2007 and 2013.

When the trial started on June 26, Kakehi only provided an opening statement that said, “I’m leaving everything to my lawyers.” Her legal team asserted her innocence, claiming she cannot be held liable for crimes because she has dementia.

Kakehi’s husband died on Dec. 28, 2013. A fatal dose of a cyanide compound was detected in his body.

During her testimony Monday, Kakehi said she tricked her husband into taking the poison and that she probably put it in a health food capsule.

Kakehi also said she obtained chemicals containing cyanide from a supplier when she was running a T-shirt printing business.

Asked about her motive for the killing, Kakehi said she thought she would be able to repay her debts if her husband died, admitting she murdered him for his money.

Kakehi said her husband treated her poorly when it came to financial matters, especially when compared with a different woman he used to date.

“I wasn’t given any money after I married him,” Kakehi told the court. “I have no intention of hiding the guilt. I will laugh it off and die if I am sentenced to death tomorrow.”

At the same time, she insisted that she has senile dementia.

The prosecutors said that she has mild dementia but that there was no question of her competency to stand trial.

They aim to use circumstantial evidence to prove Kakehi’s guilt amid a dearth of physical evidence. More than 50 people are expected to be summoned as witnesses during the trial, which is likely to last until Nov. 7.

Kakehi admitted during the investigation to using cyanide capsules to poison the four victims, but her lawyers later withdrew the admission and changed her plea to not guilty.

More than 10 men romantically involved with or associated with her are known to have died, allowing her to inherit an estimated ¥1 billion, according to investigative sources.