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Man confesses to murder of U.S. volunteer

Man confesses to murder of U.S. volunteer

A woodcarver suspected of beating to death a Peace Corps volunteer gave himself up and confessed on television, saying he erupted in rage when she bumped into him as he was fuming over a feud with a neighbor.
"I admit it, yes. I killed her, but I did not do whatever other people are thinking I did," Juan Duntugan told ABS-CBN television. He was apparently referring to speculation that Julia Campbell may have been killed during an attempted rape or robbery.
"I did not plan to kill Ms. Campbell, harm her," Duntugan said, appearing remorseful and shaking his head.
He claimed he dropped a bundle of clothes when Campbell, embarking on a hike by herself April 8 to see Ifugao province's famed mountainside rice terraces, bumped him from behind.
"My mind went blank," Duntugan said. "I did not know who she was or what she was. I got a rock and I hit her on the head. If I can change my body for hers, I will do it. But that's not possible. Whatever punishment you will impose on me, I will accept it."
National police chief Oscar Calderon said police were "documenting his statement in the presence of a lawyer."
Senior Superintendent Pedro Ganir, police chief of northern Ifugao province, where Campbell's body was found April 18 in a shallow grave, told The Associated Press that Duntugan's mother persuaded him to turn himself in.
"We provided him security so that he will not be harmed," Ganir said. Local officials have worried that Campbell's slaying may harm tourism.
Duntungan's wife had sold Campbell a soft drink before her hike, and a boy has told police that he saw him near the grave that day. Duntugan, a woodcarver who lives in the area, went into hiding the next day.
A police autopsy showed that Campbell was killed by multiple blows to the head, and that her arms were injured, indicating she tried to defend herself.
Campbell, 40, of Fairfax, Virginia, had worked as a freelance journalist for The New York Times and other media organizations
Friends and sympathizers plan a big memorial service next Thursday in Bicol, where she last worked as an English teacher.


Updated : 2021-01-26 21:22 GMT+08:00