Hawaii man sentenced to life in 1996 killing of Pitt professor
HONOLULU — A Hawaii man convicted of killing a visiting University of Pittsburgh linguistic professor from Beaver County in 1996 has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Circuit Judge Richard Perkins gave Jason Lee McCormick the mandatory sentence on Wednesday.
McCormick, 40, was convicted in June of killing Robert T. Henderson, 51, of Chippewa, who was serving as a guest lecturer at the University of Hawaii.
Henderson was strangled, prosecutors say. His nude, decomposed body was found in his Waikiki condo five days after he was last seen leaving campus.
McCormick had a stipulated facts trial, where lawyers on both sides allowed Perkins to make a decision based on police reports, mental health evaluations and McCormick's statements.
The case was unsolved until 2008, when McCormick confessed while being treated at a psychiatric facility. He later went to police and confessed again, his attorney, Michael Green, has said.
“As years went by, he had a problem living with himself,” Green has said.
In closing arguments at trial, Green said McCormick was drunk and went into a rage because he was sexually abused as a child and believed Henderson made sexual advances toward him.
There was a message scrawled on Henderson's body, accusing him of molesting children.
Police said there was no evidence to back up the child molestation claim and Henderson's family has said they believe the message was a smokescreen to cover up a robbery because two watches and a money clip they believe Henderson took to Hawaii disappeared.