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The homicide trial of a former U.S. airman assigned to Misawa Air Base, Japan, began Monday with a bizarre twist.

At the outset of his hearing in Aomori District Court, William Scott Omari McAllister, 26, declared he was pleading “not guilty” to the charges of killing his Japanese ex-wife on July 20, 2006, and damaging and abandoning her corpse.

“Both indictments are wrong,” he asserted.

He then told the court he had a statement to read, pointing to a document that appeared to be at least several pages long.

“That statement is not about the 20th of July but what’s been going on since I’ve been detained,” he said.

Defense attorney Masaki Takemoto seemed surprised by McAllister’s pleas of innocence, and a recess was called. McAllister never read his statement.

Lawyers met behind closed doors for more than two hours.

When court proceedings resumed, McAllister changed his plea to guilty on both counts, saying his previous pleas were “a big misunderstanding on my part.”

“The only thing I’m fighting is the time and place that it took place,” he said.

McAllister also claimed that he had had no intention of killing Naomi Kimura.

The prosecution and defense differed on intentions, as well as time and place of Kimura’s death and where and when her body was loaded into a car for disposal. Kimura’s body eventually was found in the trunk of a burned car abandoned on railroad tracks in nearby Hachinohe City.

The prosecution in opening arguments contended that McAllister intended to kill Kimura, committing the crime at Kimura’s Misawa City home sometime during the night.

The defense, meanwhile, denied any crimes took place at Kimura’s house, contending they instead occurred at the home or near the home of Charles Johnson, who at the time was a staff sergeant assigned to Misawa Air Base. Takemoto, in his opening statement, said McAllister and Kimura were quarreling early in the day on July 20, 2006, when McAllister grabbed her neck, accidentally killing her.

Johnson won’t be called in for questioning during the trial, Takemoto said after Monday’s hearing.

Kimura, 33, was a mother and owner of the downtown Misawa bar Purple Haze at the time of her death.

McAllister worked at Misawa Air Base until December 2005. It’s unknown how long he was assigned to the base prior to that.

McAllister is also being tried for fraud and driving without a license and speeding.

The trial was to resume Tuesday, with four more days of hearings set after that, with the scheduled conclusion on Dec. 25.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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