Hawaii man found guilty in University of Pittsburgh instructor's death

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HONOLULU -- A Hawaii man who confessed to killing a visiting University of Pittsburgh instructor in 1996 was found guilty of second-degree murder Wednesday.

Judge Richard Perkins convicted Jason Lee McCormick, 39, of killing Robert Henderson, a 51-year-old guest lecturer at the University of Hawaii.

Henderson's decomposed body was found in his Waikiki condo five days after he was last seen leaving campus. He had been strangled, prosecutors said.

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.

Judge Perkins heard a stipulated facts trial that ended in September, where the prosecution and defense agreed to let the judge render a decision based on police reports, mental health evaluations and McCormick's statements.

The case remained unsolved until 2008 when McCormick confessed while he was being treated at a psychiatric facility. He later went to police and confessed again, said defense attorney Michael Green.

"As years went by, he had a problem living with himself," Mr. Green said Wednesday.

McCormick wasn't charged with second-degree murder until two years later.

In closing arguments, Mr. 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.

McCormick faces a mandatory sentence of life with the possibility of parole when he's sentenced Sept. 11.

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