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Man convicted of murder in visiting professor’s death in 1996

A man who confessed to killing a visiting university professor 12 years after the event is guilty of murder.

A state judge found Jason Lee McCormick guilty of murder this afternoon in the July 1996 slaying of Robert T. Henderson.

Circuit Judge Richard Perkins presided over McCormick’s non-jury trial last year and rendered his verdict this afternoon.

McCormick, 40, faces a mandatory life prison term with the possibility for parole at sentencing in September. 

Police found Henderson’s nude, decomposing body in his rented Waikiki apartment. On the body, written in ink, were the words, “I rape young boys so I must die.” Police also found a pen stuck into the back of one of Henderson’s legs.

Henderson, 51, a University of Pittsburgh math professor, was on Oahu to attend some summer seminars at University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Authorities had no suspects in the case until 2008, when McCormick confessed to the killing while in the Queen’s Medical Center’s Kekela Ward for psychiatric patients. After his hospital discharge McCormick went to Honolulu Police Department Headquarters to confess again because he didn’t think police believed him the first time.

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