Marrying for money is a tried and true way to live–I mean, look at almost every member Real Housewives franchise. But, getting involved with a man, becoming his dependent, and then convincing him to drink cyanide is something that's a little less commonplace.
That scenario is exactly why Japan's 71-year-old black widow made headlines as the unexpected serial killer that no one can forget.
Back in 2014, The Guardian reported that the then 67-year-old Chisako Kakehi, a Japanese native living in Kyoto, was being investigated concerning the 2013 death of her fourth husband, Isao Kakehi. The pair had only been married for two months before his passing, but because Chisako had killed before, she understood how important the timing was.
Investigators found cyanide in both Isao's blood, and at Chisako's house, which gave them reason to investigate the elderly woman in the first place. Once they did a little more digging—both at her home and into her previous marriages—it came out that over a span of 20 years, all of Kakehi's husbands had died, as well as two of her lovers. And it didn't end there: It turns out Kakehi had been earning 800 million yen ($6.8 million) in beneficiary money from these late partners, over that time as well. Grandma was living goooooood. Her previous partners didn't fare so well.
Although Chisako stuck to her innocence back in 2014—claiming that she didn't have access to cyanide or any reason to kill them—she's been preaching a different story these days. In July 2017, the BBC reported that Chisako was finally telling the truth. The then 70-year-old admitted that the killing of her last husband was "no mistake" and a direct response to "her husband not treating her well financially." Chisako also admitted to obtaining the cyanide from a business associate, which she had previously denied.
And even though all four of Chisako's husbands were known to have died during the time she was married to them, she was only being charged with the deaths of her last husband and her two late lovers. Despite starting out the trial claiming that Chisako was suffering from dementia, the 'black widow' quickly let her true self out. As quoted in Japan Times, Chisako ruffled a few feathers in and out of court with her new testimony of guilt. "I have no intention of hiding the guilt," Chisako was quoted saying. "I will laugh it off and die if I'm sentenced to death tomorrow."
It was only a few months after she said this that Japan's 71-year-old black widow got her wish. Japan Times again reported on the wild case, this time writing of her guilty sentence and the death penalty she was given. This was decided in November 2017 by the Kyoto District Court, even though Chisako's original plea was not guilty. Described as "shrewd and despicable" by the prosecutors, the details of Chisako's crimes finally came out. After premeditating her actions, Chisako engaged lonely men, knowing that in a few months, she would get them to drink a cyanide cocktail that she touted as a health drink. Chisako also single-handedly prepared numerous notary documents that would put her in place to gain access to her victim's life insurance policies, and savings accounts.
Her plan was one that no one saw coming, because 71-year-old women aren't generally this despicable, right?