Murder suspect’s trial date is delayed
Trial for a 22-year-old Kalihi man accused in the disappearance and murder of a visiting Japanese national has been continued to Feb. 20.
Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto granted city Prosecutor Peter Carlisle's request Tuesday to push back the trial for Kirk Matthew Lankford because of the voluminous discovery and DNA testing to be done in preparation for trial.
Defense attorney Don Wilkerson objected to the continuance, saying they are prepared to go to trial.
Lankford is charged with second-degree murder in the presumed death of Masumi Watanabe, 21, who was living with a host Pupukea family at the time of her disappearance. She was last seen April 12 entering a Hauoli Termite & Pest Control truck at Pupukea Foodland.
Lankford, a pest control technician, has said he was working in the area that morning, but denied seeing Watanabe.
Police were led to Lankford after a man reported seeing someone digging a hole near Kahana Bay the night after Watanabe's disappearance. The tipster said he confronted the man, who said he was searching for a gold chain he had lost a couple of months earlier. The witness took down the license plate of the man's truck, which was traced to Lankford.
Police seized both Lankford's personal truck and his company truck, which had a broken windshield on the passenger side. Found inside the company truck were prescription glasses and blood on the door and passenger seat that matched Watanabe's DNA.
No body has been found. However, defendants have been convicted of murder based mainly on circumstantial evidence.