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Detective: Iwakuni Marine took prostitute to Waikiki hotel

Sep. 26, 2013 - 07:56AM   |  
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KANEOHE BAY, HAWAII — A Marine accused of killing a prostitute visiting Hawaii met her outside a Waikiki bar and then took her to his hotel room, a Honolulu police detective testified at a military hearing Wednesday.

Dru Akagi said surveillance footage captured outside the bar May 16 showed Master Sgt. Nathaniel Cosby and Ivanice Harris walking away together. Footage from a Waikiki hotel showed them kissing in an elevator.

That was the last time Harris was seen in surveillance footage, Akagi said.

Several hours later, footage shows Cosby alone in the elevator, dragging a large duffel bag and loading it into the back of a sport utility vehicle.

The hearing at Marine Corps Base Hawaii will determine whether Cosby will be court-martialed for murder, patronizing a prostitute and other charges. The Article 32 hearing is the military’s equivalent of a preliminary hearing in civilian court.

Originally from Oregon, Harris was visiting from Las Vegas to celebrate her 29th birthday. She was with her boyfriend, who was also her pimp, and two other women, Akagi said.

Akagi testified Harris’ disappearance started out as a missing person case, after one of the women who traveled to Hawaii with her and the pimp reported her missing.

She was found on May 20. A boy and his family called police to report they found a body in a remote area near Yokohama Beach Park, about 40 miles west of Waikiki.

Police used fingerprints to identify the body as Harris.

The Honolulu medical examiner’s office has said she died from an injury to the neck. The office ruled her death a homicide.

Cosby was arrested at Honolulu International Airport in June after returning from a mission in China, Akagi said. Cosby was on a mission with the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, which searches for and recovers remains of American military members in past conflicts.

Cosby told detectives he met Harris in Waikiki but couldn’t recall what happened, Akagi said, and that she was gone when he woke up.

“He couldn’t recall where he went that morning” after waking up, Akagi said. “His explanation to us was he went to breakfast.”

Cell phone records show that Cosby’s phone pinged on a tower in Waianae, about four miles from where the body was found, he said.

The prosecution’s theory is that Cosby drove almost to the western-most point of the island to scout a location to dump the body, said Maj. Doug Hatch, trial counsel. Cosby then returned to Pearl Harbor for work and then later dumped the body at about midnight, then returned to the hotel, he said.

Cosby showed up about 45 minutes late for work on May 16 and had a fresh gash above an eye, fellow Marines who saw him that morning testified. “He seemed kind of out of it or distracted,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Cherwa.

Cosby is an explosive ordnance disposal technician with Marine Wing Support Squadron-171 in the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing based in Iwakuni, Japan. He was on temporary duty assignment in Hawaii in May.

The 39-year-old is being held at a military detention facility in Pearl Harbor.

Honolulu police began the investigation into Harris’ disappearance and death, but the Naval Criminal Investigative Service took over the case.

Col. Doug Gardner, who is presiding over the hearing, will make a recommendation about whether Cosby should be court-martialed, or whether any charges should be dropped or added.

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