An audio recording of a conversation between police and the accused in the murder of Japanese student Natsumi Kogawa has been released.
An investigator testified at trial that during one part of the conversation, the accused, William Schneider, made a gesture — covering his nose and mouth — when he explained what happened to Kogawa.
Officer 1: How did she die, William?
Officer 1: How did she die?
Accused: I actually don’t know if she die-, if her heart went or if it was her breath…
Officer 1: Mm.
Accused: I don’t know. I don’t know. I, I, I w-, actually wasn’t certain that she passed when sh-, at the moment she did. It was five minutes later. I stepped out for, or s-, gone out of the tent for a smoke, and then, oh, my God. I didn’t think she was at the time. I didn’t think so. I, yeah, I th-, I thought that maybe, uh, that her hear-, do you, I mean, do you know, was it her heart, or was it her breath?
The Crown contends that Schneider intentionally killed Kogawa when he smothered her with his hands.
The defence was critical of police for not videotaping the interview, suggesting no gesture was ever made.
Globalnews.ca coverage of the Natsumi Kogawa murder case:
In another exchange, Crown contended that Schneider confessed.
Officer 2: You’re a stand-up guy in relation to at least you’re taking responsibility. OK?
Officer 1: And you’re actually showing remorse, William.
Officer 2: Yeah.
Officer 1: Uh, and I think it’s genuine. And it’s been, and the reason I say that is because it’s been from day one to now, right?
Accused: But it is, it’s my fault.
Officer 1: We can’t undo that, William.
Defence said there was no confession.
Schneider admitted to putting Kogawa’s body in a suitcase but there is no DNA evidence linking him to her death and a cause of death has never been determined.
He has pleaded not guilty to the charge of second-degree murder and the jury still needs to weigh the evidence on that charge.
Kogawa, 30, came to Vancouver to study English but she was reported missing in September 2016.
Her body was found a few weeks later at the Gabriola Mansion, a historic building in Vancouver’s West End.