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'Black widow' admits to poisoning husband during prosecution questioning

Chisako Kakehi (Mainichi)

KYOTO -- The trial of a woman over the suspected fatal cyanide poisonings of her husband and other men took an unexpected turn when she admitted to poisoning her husband during questioning in court on July 10.

Seventy-year-old Chisako Kakehi is on trial at the Kyoto District Court for the alleged murders of her husband and two boyfriends and the attempted murder-robbery of another boyfriend across Kyoto, Osaka and Hyogo prefectures. While Kakehi reportedly admitted to all four of the charges against her during the investigation, her lawyers denied all charges and maintained her innocence. When her trial began on June 26, she stated she would "leave everything" up to her lawyers.

During defense questioning on July 10, Kakehi stated she would remain silent. However, when asked by the prosecution if she fatally poisoned her 75-year-old husband Isao at their residence in December 2013, she replied plainly that there was "no mistake," making a complete 180-degree turn from the start of her trial.

The prosecution then asked her, "Are you admitting to making Isao take the poison and killing him?" and "Are you making this admission while fully aware the punishment?" Kakehi answered "yes."

As for her motive, Kakehi stated, "I felt like (Isao) was discriminating against me (financially) in comparison to the last woman he was in a relationship with and I got angry," along with other explanations. The former printing company operator also testified about how she came into possession of the cyanide thought to have been used in the suspected murders, saying, "I got it from a business associate. I should have thrown it away when I got out of the business."

Kakehi also gave a glimpse into her mental state by telling the court, "Even if I am sentenced to death, I'm prepared to die laughing."

Her lawyers have proclaimed that Kakehi's testimony "cannot be trusted due to her dementia," as she was diagnosed with "mild dementia" in a court-ordered psychiatric examination last year. After questioning by the prosecution, her attorneys stated that they would consider how to proceed with their redirect questioning.

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