Japanese Woman Murdered in Hawaii – Guilty Verdict

April 16, 2008

I am surprised that this case is not getting a lot more airtime than it has otherwise, but if you really think about it, Hawaii is a big travel destination for people in Japan. Now is the time most people are shopping for tickets for package tours to Hawaii and other such destinations because the travel season for Japan is Summer. I can imagine that as much a tragedy as this case is, JTB and the rest of the big travel agencies, in addition to the ANA and JAL and the rest of the airlines probably don’t want this news to scare off potential customers and travellers.

I can not really say how much influence big businesses have on the media, but it certainly isn’t zero.

Kirk Langford was convicted of second degree murder in this case, in which the body of Masumi Watanabe has not been found. He claims he hit her with his truck, breaking his windshield, then offered to give her a ride back to where she was staying. After an argument, she leaped from the truck, was hit again, and killed. He said that he then disposed of the body in the ocean. (Japan Times, “Man Guilty in Hawaii Murder“)

This story IS being reported in Japanese news, but I thought there’d be more public reaction.

The conviction is for second degree murder defined in the “‘Lectric Law Library” as:
MURDER, SECOND DEGREE – In order for someone to be found guilty of second degree murder the government must prove that the person killed another person; the person killed the other person with malice aforethought; and the killing was premeditated. Note that the elements are identical with those for 1st degree murder. The practical difference is the sentences are different. Which crime to charge is usually entirely up to the prosecutor’s discretion.

It seems that despite his story, the court seemed to feel that the murder was premeditated (at least to some extent), and malicious.