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Listen to News ~ dateline: 17 April 2012

Weekly Audio News for ESL Learners

Japan’s “Black Widow” Sentenced To Death

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • black widow: a type of female spider that eats her mate
  • dub: to give another name; nickname
  • notoriety: the state of being well-known (due to negative reasons)
  • prosecution: legal team that tries to show that the accused is guilty
  • circumstantial evidence: information that suggests guilt (eg, she dated all 3 men); not direct proof (eg, DNA)
  • verdict: official decision

Japan’s “Black Widow” Sentenced To Death

A 37-year-old woman named Kanae Kijima has been sentenced to death for killing three former lovers that she met on Internet sites. The woman was dubbed “The Black Widow” after the female spider that eats its after mating. The case gained notoriety in Japan because the prosecution was using circumstantial evidence. The prosecution showed that Kijima purchased sleeping pills and coal briquettes in an attempt to disguise her murders as suicides. The suggested that the men killed themselves because Kijima broke up with them. In the end, the judge accused Kijima of using the men for money before murdering them. Over 1000 people hoping to get into the courtroom to hear the final verdict.

Comprehension Questions

  1. What does a real black widow do in nature?
  2. Why did this court case gain notoriety in Japan?
  3. What did the three men who died have in common?

Discussion Question: Do you think it’s fair to decide murder cases based on circumstantial evidence?

show Answers

Written by Tara Benwell for EnglishClub.com
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.

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