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AOMORI, Japan — The former Misawa airman who confessed to murdering his Japanese ex-wife and burning her corpse apologized in court this week to the victim’s family.

“For about a year and a half I’ve been thinking about what I can say to her family,” William Scott Omari McAllister said in Aomori District Court on Monday. “I took their daughter’s life and I regret doing that.”

Because he destroyed Naomi Kimura’s body, “they never got a proper chance to say goodbye to her,” he added.

But, “an apology is not enough,” he said, agreeing with Kimura’s parents that he deserves the death penalty.

“I can’t imagine what it’s like for someone to kill your daughter,” he said. “I have a 3-year-old daughter. If someone killed her, they’d have to die.”

McAllister, whose trial began Dec. 3, has pleaded guilty to killing Kimura on July 20, 2006. Her burned body was found in the trunk of her Toyota Celica, which he left on railroad tracks in the nearby fishing port city of Hachinohe.

At issue is the time and place of the murder and whether McAllister intended to kill Kimura, a 33-year-old single mother and owner of the Misawa bar Purple Haze.

McAllister, 26, claimed during testimony Monday and Tuesday that he killed Kimura around 6 a.m. in the garage at the off-base home of his friend “CJ” — Charles Johnson — a staff sergeant assigned to the 35th Maintenance Squadron at Misawa Air Base.

McAllister said he had been drinking most of the night when he and Kimura began arguing. They were alone at the time.

“She told me she was just using me for my money,” McAllister said. That set him off.

“I grabbed her throat and I slammed her against the wall in the garage,” he said, keeping her pressed there while gripping her neck with one hand for about 30 seconds. He then pushed her away and she fell, hitting her head on a tire stop on the garage floor.

He said she was bleeding from the head and nose and was unresponsive.

Under questioning, he told his attorney, Masaki Takemoto, that it didn’t cross his mind the assault could kill Kimura.

McAllister said he immediately called another ex-wife, Rumiko McAllister, who lives in Misawa with the couple’s 3-year-old daughter. He said he thought she or her mother, who works at a hospital, could help Kimura.

He said he didn’t speak Japanese or know how to call an ambulance off base.

When McAllister arrived at Rumiko’s place, he had a change of heart when he saw his daughter and decided not to say anything about Kimura, whom he believed was already dead.

“Seeing my daughter made me sad and I felt like I had to get away with killing Naomi,” McAllister said.

During questioning by three of the judges presiding over the trial, McAllister said he still had a sexual relationship with Kimura and occasionally would give her money.

The prosecution contends McAllister intended to kill Kimura and that the crime occurred in her Misawa City home sometime during the night.

A 30-year-old ex-girlfriend testified last week that McAllister hinted at killing Kimura a week before her death, saying: “‘If I punch [her], I might go all the way. If so I have to hide the body somewhere.’”

McAllister said Tuesday the woman mistranslated his words.

The prosecution also tried to get McAllister to reveal who helped him dispose of Kimura’s body, asking at one point whether it was Johnson.

“I can’t say who the other person is,” McAllister said, “because it’s my fault that other person got involved.”

Japanese police last March questioned Johnson about the McAllister case. He was restricted to the base during that investigation but never arrested.

Japanese media covering McAllister’s trial reported Wednesday that Johnson denied involvement in the incident.

Misawa officials said Wednesday that Johnson is still assigned to Misawa. He is not expected to testify.

Rumiko McAllister testified Monday that McAllister used physical violence against her twice during their marriage. In one instance, McAllister grabbed her neck.

“You have no control over choking others?” a judge asked.

McAllister said he wasn’t trying to choke others, just to get them to pay attention to him, to get his point across.

The last day of McAllister’s trial is scheduled for Dec. 25, with a verdict to come later.

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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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