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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 3, 2007

Murder suspect sought polygraph

By Ken Kobayashi
Advertiser Courts Writer

A Kalihi man indicted by the O'ahu grand jury yesterday on a charge of murdering a missing Japanese visitor does not know where she is and was willing to take a lie detector test in her missing-persons case, according to his lawyer.

But the lawyer for Kirk Lankford said police this week told him that prosecutors declined the offer.

In addition, "He's asserting 100 percent his innocence," said Lankford's lawyer, Donald Wilkerson.

City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle declined to comment on Wilkerson's statements.

"I have no intention on commenting about evidence that's inadmissible at trial or the performance or results of any examination or tests or refusal to submit to any examination or tests because I believe that's precluded by the rules of professional conduct" governing lawyers, Carlisle said.

Lankford, 22, was indicted by the grand jury on a charge of second-degree murder in the case of Masumi Watanabe. Lankford is charged with murdering Watanabe on the day she disappeared by either killing her or failing to get her help knowing that she was seriously harmed.

Wilkerson said Lankford was willing to take the lie detector test in connection with the missing-persons case.

"I think it would be important for the (Honolulu police) to know that Mr. Lankford doesn't know where she's at," Wilkerson said.

He said although results from lie detector tests aren't admissible in court, they are commonly used in investigations by the FBI and prosecutors around the country.

Wilkerson said police on Tuesday did not say why the prosecutors declined the lie detector test offer.

Wilkerson declined to comment about Lankford or the allegations against him.

Circuit Judge Derrick Chan yesterday confirmed Lankford's bail of $1 million after the grand jury returned the indictment.

In asking for the confirmation of bail, city Deputy Prosecutor Vickie Kapp told the judge that Watanabe was last seen getting into Lankford's company truck the day she disappeared and is presumed to be dead.

Kapp said Watanabe's eyeglasses and blood that matched her DNA were recovered from Lankford's company truck, and said there is evidence Lankford lived on the Mainland and is a possible flight risk.

Wilkerson said his client will plead not guilty when he is arraigned.

Reach Ken Kobayashi at kkobayashi@honoluluadvertiser.com.