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Daniels' interview with accused killer

by CHRIS DANIELS / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @ChrisDaniels5

KING5.com

Posted on May 5, 2010 at 8:15 PM

"It's not something I did," said Kiyoshi Higashi as he slammed his heavily tattooed hand against the table in front of me.

It was just one of the nuggets in a rambling, foul-mouthed, closed-door explanation by the accused killer.

On Wednesday morning, I showed up at the San Mateo County Jail, not knowing what to expect. I knew we had to put in a request to talk to the two men who for some reason popped up in Northern California two days after the Craigslist murder.

To my surprise, Higashi was more than willing to talk about it.

But there were rules.  he Jail wouldn't allow cameras or recording devices. It was just me, him, some plexiglass, and a phone to communicate.

Higashi came out in his prison jumpsuit, bright orange, and it looked about three sizes too big. At first, I wondered if he was hiding something.  is left arm was tucked inside the jumpsuit and his right hand held the phone.

He shifted in his seat, repeatedly painting a story of a case of mistaken identity and bizarre circumstances.

"I don't really know Amanda Knight," he told me. "She's more of Josh's friend."

Why was he in San Francisco?

"It was all our ideas."

Why now?

"We just decided to visit some friends of Josh's. Some family of his."

Where did you stay?

"Some hotel in Daly City."

Is that where you were the whole time?

"No, we made some stops on the way down."

I'm leaving out the expletives, which flowed easily from his mouth. He kept getting more and more agitated the more questions I asked.

Why would they say you're involved if you're not?

"I don't know, man. They haven't positively identified me."

I countered. You match the sketches, and descriptions from the victims. The victims have placed Amanda at both scenes, you're with her, it doesn't add up.

"You're convicting me! There is no way I'm going to get a fair trial."

He shifted more, as the expletives continued, saying his tattoos were part of his alibi.

"No one has mentioned my tattoos. Don't you think they would notice my tattoos?" he ranted.

That's when he took his arms out to show me.

On one hand "Trust No Bitch".

On the other "Fear No Man".

His left forearm "Taking Care of Business".

Pierce County Sheriff's deputies would later call it a moot point since the suspects were wearing hooded sweatshirts and/or long sleeves at the time of the murder on April 28.

Round and round we went and I told him the story just doesn't add up, if he wasn't involved. Did he call his dad, like charging papers suggest, to tell him "it wasn't supposed to go down that way."

"No, because I'm not supposed to talk to him."

What?

"There is a protection order, cause of a Domestic Violence thing a while back. I'm on parole for that."

I pressed for details, but he didn't want to talk about it, and for good reason.

"Yeah, I wasn' t supposed to leave the state, but I did. So, I knew I was taking a risk by coming here, but I was going to be back on Monday by 6 a.m. for a meeting, and I would have made it."

And that's when he admitted the obvious.

"I know this looks bad. It looks suspicious."

And that's before we even discussed the gun, found in the car he was in Saturday morning.

"Not mine."

Whose is it?

"Not mine. But I don't want to say."

It was near Josh, and it was loaded.

"Not mine, man."

He claimed over and over to not know details about the murder, so I had to lay it out there.

I told him a blow-by-blow account, about the robbery, and murder of James Sanders. His face tensed up, he looked away. A body language expert could probably draw their own conclusion. He shook his head.

"I would not wish that upon my family."

The light flickered and our time was up. I was left wondering why he decided to talk, and what he was hoping to accomplish.

I wondered even more when I saw him hours later in a courtroom, his head cocked back, fighting back tears. His eyes were watery, and his voice was wavering. Perhaps then, he realized the severity of the situation. It was a stark contrast to what I saw earlier.

Josh Reese, the other suspect here, buried his hands in his face and wiped away tears as a judge agreed to ship him back to Washington.

The game was up. 

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