In statement, defendant says he eyed Megan Kanka all summer
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ A man charged with killing a 7-year-old girl told police he was attracted to the blonde, chubby-cheeked youngster and had been watching her all summer before he lured her into his home, an officer testified Friday.
More grisly details of Megan Kanka’s last minutes alive were introduced into evidence in Jesse Timmendequas’ murder trial Friday, as a police detective testified about the statement the 36-year-old convicted sex offender gave the day after the little girl disappeared.
Timmendequas is charged with kidnapping, raping and murdering Megan in July 1994. He could face the death penalty if convicted.
Megan’s parents channeled their grief into a national campaign to notify communities when sex offenders move in. ``Megan’s Law″ statutes have been enacted in New Jersey and other states and President Clinton has signed a federal version.
Detective Robert O’Dwyer, reading Timmendequas’ words, said the defendant talked about how he had watched Megan.
``A lot of times during the summer, she would be sitting on the curb across the street,″ O’Dwyer read. ``She would write with chalk in the streets. She would wear shorts with no panties and I would see this.″
Timmendequas also spoke of his attraction to young girls.
``The softness of the skin and the hairlessness of the body is what I’m attracted to,″ he said in the statement.
O’Dwyer said he asked Timmendequas what he had intended to do with Megan and the defendant responded: ``My intentions were to just feel her up and kiss her and try to get her to not say anything. I didn’t want to hurt her physically, but I know I was hurting her mentally.″
Police say Timmendequas lured Megan into his house, across the street from hers, to see his new puppy. Once inside, Timmendequas said, the two went into his bedroom, O’Dwyer testified Thursday.
Timmendequas told O’Dwyer he put a belt around her neck after she screamed and tried to run away when he fondled her. He said he choked her with the belt and covered her head with a plastic bag.
According to the statement read Friday, Timmendequas said he placed Megan inside a large tool box and carried it out to his truck. O’Dwyer asked him if he had heard any sounds from the box.
``Yes. I thought I heard a faint cough from within the box when I put the box in the truck,″ Timmendequas said in the statement.
After dumping the body in a nearby park, Timmendequas went to a convenience store for cigarettes and newspapers, O’Dwyer read. Then he returned home.
A short time later, as he was talking to a neighbor, Timmendequas said, Megan’s mother, Maureen, approached him and asked if he had seen her daughter. He said he saw her at 6:30 p.m. going to a next-door neighbor’s house.
Timmendequas said he felt guilty when he saw Megan’s parents, neighbors and police searching for the girl.
He added that he did not realize Megan might be dead ``until I got home and realized the plastic bags were still on her head and she probably suffocated.″
During O’Dwyer’s cross-examination, defense attorney Roy Greenman tried to show that Timmendequas’ two roommates _ Brian Jenin and Joseph Cifelli _ did not have the solid alibis that O’Dwyer had testified to.
They had a receipt showing they were at an automated teller machine at 6:34 p.m. But they couldn’t produce receipts to show that they went to an auto parts store afterward. They had one from a grocery store at 8:54 p.m.
In other testimony, Lt. Thomas Wilkins said he found two bags over Megan’s head: a plastic grocery bag, then a brown plastic trash bag underneath tied to her neck.
``It was tight,″ Wilkins said of the trash bag. ``It was firmly against the skin to the point that to cut it off, I had to force my fingers under the bag to get the scissors in to cut it.″