Prosecutors Grill Pest Control Worker About Japanese Tourist's Death - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Prosecutors Grill Pest Control Worker About Japanese Tourist's Death

By Minna Sugimoto

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- The Kalihi man accused of murdering Japanese tourist Masumi Watanabe says he didn't appreciate how police treated him when he became a suspect last year.

Under cross examination, defendant Kirk Lankford admits he deliberately lied to investigators about what happened, and tells jurors what steps he took to conceal and ultimately get rid of Masumi Watanabe's body.

"You already had her in a bag?" Honolulu prosecutor Peter Carlisle said, while holding up a plastic trash bag.

"Not really, just over her head to keep blood from getting everywhere," Lankford replied.

Lankford says he was giving the 21-year-old visitor from Japan a ride, after his truck accidentally sideswiped her when she stepped into the roadway. He testifies Watanabe died after she dove out of the moving truck.

"I was thinking I was going too fast for somebody to be okay after jumping out of the truck like that," he said.

The pest control technician says he stuck her in a compartment in the back of his work truck for about 12 hours, while he continued on with his day.

"It's concealed properly so that the people who were coming and going in the parking lot, driving by, walking by, they're going to have no idea they're within feet or yards or several car lengths of a dead 21-year-old girl, correct?" Carlisle asked.

"That's correct," Lankford replied.

He says the body began to smell, but his intent was to find a peaceful place to bury her.

"Would you describe driving around in a pest control truck all day, stuffed in a bait box with your head inside a garbage bag, as peaceful?" Carlisle asked.

"Absolutely not," the defendant responded.

Lankford says he eventually dumped Watanabe's body in waters off Kualoa.

He tells jurors he didn't appreciate how rude police were when they stormed his house a few days later.

"They used the f-word several times. They used the s-word several times," he said. "They didn't seem to match respect, fairness and integrity."

"The police didn't seem to match fairness, respect and integrity?" Carlisle asked.

"That's correct," the accused murderer replied.

Lankford says he made bad decisions because he was afraid to lose his job, but maintains it wasn't murder.

The trial continues Friday.

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