NELSON DARANCIANG / NDARANCIANG@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kirk Lankford, right, and a deputy sheriff stood yesterday where he said Masumi Watanabe jumped out of his truck on April 12. Jurors also visited yesterday the shoreline where Lankford had said he set Watanabe's body adrift.
Defense shows jury a rock
Accused murderer Lankford has the court visit the spot where he claims a woman died
Accused killer Kirk Matthew Lankford and jurors in his murder trial stood at the rock yesterday on which Lankford claims missing Japanese visitor Masumi Watanabe hit her head and died, and on the shoreline where he claims he entered the ocean to set her body adrift.
Lankford, 23, is standing trial in Circuit Court for murder by either causing Watanabe's death or failing to get help knowing she was seriously injured.
Watanabe, 21, was last seen April 12 in Pupukea. Her parents and two older brothers will be in Hawaii later this month for a memorial service at Kawaiaha'o Church on the anniversary of her disappearance. The one-hour service will start at 10 a.m.
Yesterday was the second time jurors left the courtroom to visit sites mentioned in the case. They had gone on an earlier site visit to locations selected by the prosecution. Yesterday's sites were selected by Lankford.
The jurors went to Pupukea and Aukauka roads, where Lankford claims he accidentally struck Watanabe with his Hauoli Termite & Pest Control work truck.
They did not go to where Lankford claims Watanabe entered his truck after the accident because his lawyer Don Wilkerson said Lankford does not remember the exact spot. A witness who testified earlier also said she cannot remember exactly where along Pupukea Road she saw Watanabe enter a Hauoli truck the day Watanabe disappeared.
The rock on which Lankford claims Watanabe hit her head and died is on Makana Road on the bluffs overlooking Pupukea Beach Park.
Lankford claims that after he picked up Watanabe, he drove her up and down Pupukea hoping to drop her off at her home. He claims Watanabe jumped out of his truck as it was traveling about 40 mph and died when she struck her head on a roadside boulder.
Jurors also went to a beach near the entrance of the Kualoa Ranch Visitor Center off Kamehameha Highway.
Lankford claims he put Watanabe's body in trash bags sealed with duct tape and set it adrift a few hundred yards offshore.
Lankford is one of three remaining witnesses scheduled to testify in his defense. He could take the stand as early as tomorrow.