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NCO confesses to murdering his lover’s husband

Date Posted: 2012-02-03

An Air Force staff sergeant has pleaded guilty to murdering a fellow airman by stabbing him repeatedly with a hunting knife and box cutter, all because he says his lover asked him to.

Staff Sergeant Nicholas Kron told a military courts martial at Kadena Air Base that he stabbed a 30-year-old colleague, Curtis Eccleston, at an off-base apartment in Chatan on February 6, 2011. Kron says Barbara Keiko Eccleston, the victim’s wife, had been his girlfriend before she married Eccleston, and admitted that he and the 32-year-old Brazilian native had been carrying on an affair until just before the murder. Kron told the court Barbara Keiko Eccleston had sent him a text message in early November, three months before the crime, asking that he kill her husband.

Barbara Eccleston is facing murder charges in a Japanese court for her role in the crime. The U.S. military had charged the 26-year-old Kron, a member of the 733rd Air Mobility Squadron, with conspiracy to commit murder, premeditated murder and obstruction of justice. Having pleaded guilty, Kron must now await sentencing. The court martial authorities say Kron had confessed in order to avoid the death penalty. He now faces life in prison, but the court could decide whether he’ll ever be eligible for parole.

The court martial testimony chronicles how Kron, dressed in black except for rubber gloves, went to Eccleston’s apartment near Kadena Air Base, rang the door bell, entered, and then stabbed Eccleston. As Eccleston lay on the kitchen floor, Cron told the court “I could see blood coming out of his neck and he was having trouble breathing.” Cron then called Eccleston’s wife and described the scene. “While Barbara was on the phone,” he told the court, “we could still hear a breathing sound coming from his body,” and then he used a knife to slash his carotid artery. Eccleston died of blood loss sometime prior to dawn.

Authorities say Cron and Barbara Keiko Eccleston staged the crime to look like a theft gone bad, with Kron taking a laptop computer and a cell phone belonging to the victim. Kron’s defense was that he was manipulated into committing the crime by Barbara Keiko Eccleston, who’d told him her husband was abusive and had caused a miscarriage.

Court Martial deliberations are expected to take about one week.

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