LOS ANGELES (Kyodo) The Hawaii Paroling Authority has effectively sentenced Kirk Lankford, who was convicted of the 2007 murder of 21-year-old Masumi Watanabe on Oahu, to life in prison, a written statement indicates.
“The parole board has determined that Mr. Lankford must spend at least 150 years incarcerated for his crime,” the authority said in the statement, which was released Friday.
Local Hawaii media reported that the board decided to allow Lankford, now 24, to seek a reduction in the term after he serves a third of it.
Watanabe, from Sado Island in Niigata Prefecture, went missing in April 2007 during a stay at the home of a family acquaintance on Oahu’s North Shore.
She was last seen getting into Lankford’s truck, and blood with DNA matching hers was later recovered from the truck.
Lankford was found guilty of the murder last July, but Watanabe’s body has not been found.
Earlier this month, her parents filed a damages suit against Lankford and relevant persons with a Hawaii court.
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