Defense attorney: suspect tried to confess to cold case murder... - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Defense attorney: suspect tried to confess to cold case murder two years ago

Jason Lee McCormick Jason Lee McCormick
Michael Green Michael Green
Robert Henderson Robert Henderson
The victim was found in the Ilikai Hotel The victim was found in the Ilikai Hotel

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The lawyer for a man charged with the 1996 slaying of a visiting college professor in Waikiki says his client tried to confess to the cold case nearly two years ago, but "they didn't believe him."

Jason Lee McCormick, 36, was indicted on a murder charge a week ago, and entered a plea of not guilty via video hookup from the Oahu Community Correctional Center Thursday morning. He remains in custody, unable to post $500,000 bail.

Following the arraignment, defense attorney Michael Green revealed that McCormick was in the psychiatric ward at the Queen's Medical Center in August 2008, when he "all of the sudden had this vision of committing the murder."

"For a long period of time, he's had severe bouts with alcoholism and things like that, and I think days would go by where he really had little memory of what was happening," he said.

Green says McMormick confessed to doctors and police, and knew details about the killing that were never publicized.

"What is normal is they keep a couple of facts that always remain secret from the public, that only a person present or committed the crime would know," Green said. "They asked him the question and he knew."

The decomposing body of Robert Henderson, 51, was discovered in a room at the Ilikai Hotel in July 1996. The nude body reportedly had a message written on it, accusing him of being a child molester.

The University of Pittsburgh linguistics professor was in Hawaii for a conference. An autopsy found he died from asphyxia.

"It's my understanding or view that there was certainly underlying sexual things that happened," Green said.

Last week, prosecutors acknowledged that McCormick talked to police a few years back but said, at the time, the confession wasn't enough.

"The fact that they waited makes it sound like they were not sure of his reliability or credibility no matter what he said to them," Green said. "That will eventually play out."

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