Watanabe Murder Suspect Accused of Altering Documents to Cover Up Crime

George Ofsonka
George Ofsonka

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Shocking testimony at the trial of a Kalihi man accused of killing missing Japanese tourist Masumi Watanabe. On Thursday, the defendant's boss at Hauoli Pest Control testified about work documents that appeared to have been altered to cover up the crime.

Defendant Kirk Lankford, a pest control technician, serviced two homes on Oahu's North Shore around the time of Watanabe's disappearance. But prosecutors say the start and finish times he noted on the work orders he gave to his customers do not match the times on the copies his boss received.

"I would be concerned about it," George Ofsonka, defendant's former boss, testified.

"These should be identical, shouldn't they?" Peter Carlisle, Honolulu prosecutor, asked.

"Yes, they should," the witness replied.

Ofsonka says the 22-year-old worked his way up to a position that paid about $70,000 a year. Lankford is now accused of murdering 21-year-old Masumi Watanabe of Japan.

Prosecutors show the jury the paperwork Lankford's customers received last April, indicating a one-hour, 25-minute gap between the two jobs. But the copies turned into the company appear to close that window to 30 minutes.

"How long does this suggest that he has been at Mr. Wingate's house?" Carlisle asked.

"An hour and 15 minutes," Ofsonka replied.

"Would that be unusual for a regular service?" the prosecutor asked.

"Yes, that could be," the witness replied.

Next, a supervisor testifies Lankford returned to the company's Mapunapuna office with a broken windshield on his work truck. David Patacsil says he had the glass replaced without notifying authorities because Lankford told him a bird hit it.

"I told him, I said it looks different and that I made a comment to him and I said I'd hate to see the bird," the defendant's former supervisor said.

Patacsil says he noticed something else.

"The interior of his truck was clean," he testified.

"Was that unusual?" Carlisle asked.

"Yes. For Kirk, yes," Patacsil replied.

The defense questions whether Patacsil's drawing of the shattered windshield is accurate since he made it for police just last month, about 10 months after the glass was repaired.

The trial continues Friday.