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'Black widow' Kanae Kijima sentenced to death in Japan

Kanae Kijima was sentenced to death in Japan for murdering three former lovers.

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This photo shows an execution room at the Tokyo detention house in Tokyo, Japan. Kanae Kijima, dubbed "the black widow," was sentenced to death in Japan on April 13, 2012 for murdering three former lovers. (JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

Kanae Kijima, dubbed "the black widow," was sentenced to death in Japan on Friday for murdering three former lovers, according to the BBC.

The court said that Kijima, 37, murdered three men, aged 41, 53 and 80, for financial gain. The judge said there was no room for leniency in the case.

Kijima met her victims through internet dating sites and reportedly poisoned them with carbon monoxide by burning charcoal briquettes after she gave them sleeping pills.

She claimed she was innocent and plans to appeal the verdict.

The name for the case comes from the species of female spider that eats its partner after mating.

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The AFP said she wanted to stop the men from demanding money that she had taken from them during the brief relationships. The presiding judge, Kazuyuki Ohkuma, said, "Three times she carried out extremely serious and vicious crimes." He added that she committed the crimes "in order to maintain her luxurious life full of vainglory without working."

The BBC reported that the judge said, "There is no room for leniency as the defendant committed the crimes for selfish purposes. She reiterated irrational excuses in court and did not show any remorse."

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The case was built on evidence such as Kijima's purchases of sleeping pills and coal briquettes (used as a common method of suicide in Japan) and the timing of her meetings with each man, shortly before his death, said the AFP.

The victims Takao Terada and Kenzo Ando died in May of 2009 in their homes, while Yoshiyuki Oide died in August 2009 in a rented car.

Commentators noted that her plain, thick-set appearance was at odds with her claim that the victims killed themselves because she was leaving them.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/japan/120413/black-widow-kanae-kijima-sentenced-death-japan