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The Honolulu Advertiser
Updated at 4:41 p.m., Thursday, April 3, 2008

Murder defendant Lankford tells how he got rid of body

By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer

Murder defendant Kirk Matthew Lankford was on the witness stand again today, betraying little emotion as he recounted grisly details of how he disposed of the body of 21-year-old Masumi Watanabe last year.

According to Lankford, Watanabe died accidentally but he had to hide her body because he believed he would lose his job with Hauoli Pest Control if he reported what happened.

He said he left the body for 12 hours in the "bait box" section of his work truck, then put her in three layers of garbage bags in preparation for burying her.

By that time, rigor mortis had set in and the body wouldn't fit in the garbage bags, Lankford said.

So he had to bend the legs at the knees and duct-tape them in that position to fit her in the bags, he testified.

The only emotion Lankford showed while testifying was when he complained about the behavior of police officers when they arrested him last April 21.

Officers burst into his home, swore repeatedly at him and later harassed his wife, he said.

Their behavior that day "didn't seem to match" the department's slogan of "responsibility, fairness and integrity," Lankford said.

Reach Jim Dooley at jdooley@honoluluadvertiser.com.