Hawaii man gets life in prison for murdering Pitt instructor

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HONOLULU -- A Hawaii man convicted of killing a visiting University of Pittsburgh instructor in 1996 was sentenced today to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Circuit Judge Richard Perkins gave Jason Lee McCormick the mandatory sentence for second-degree murder.

The 40-year-old McCormick was convicted in June of killing Robert Henderson, a 51-year-old guest lecturer at the University of Hawaii.

Henderson, a popular linguistics instructor who was also director of Pitt's language acquisition institute, had lived with his mother in Beaver Falls until her death a few months before he was killed.

He had worked at Pitt since 1982, specializing in English as a second language and computer-assisted language learning.

Prosecutors say Henderson was strangled. His decomposed body was found in his Waikiki condominium five days after he was last seen leaving campus.

The case was unsolved until 2008 when McCormick confessed while being treated at a psychiatric facility. McCormick's lawyer Michael Green has said McCormick later went to police and confessed again. He was not charged with second-degree murder until two years later.

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