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Filipino says he killed ex-reporter

By CRAIG BASSE
Published April 28, 2007


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On the eve of memorial services for Julia Campbell, a man suspected of killing the Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines confessed on television.

After giving himself up, Juan Duntugan told ABS-CBN television in Manila, "I admit it, yes. I killed her."

Duntugan, a wood carver, said he erupted into a rage when Campbell, 40, a St. Petersburg Times reporter in Palm Harbor a decade ago and a former freelance journalist for the New York Times, bumped into him as he was fuming over a feud with a neighbor.

"I did not plan to kill Ms. Campbell, harm her, " he said.

"My mind went blank, " he 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."

Campbell's body was found in a shallow grave April 18 in Ifugao Province. She vanished April 8 after beginning a solo hike.

Meanwhile, Jose de Venecia, speaker of the Philippines' House of Representatives, said Campbell will be awarded the Philippine Congressional Medal of Achievement. The legislature's highest decoration will be presented in June to a representative of Campbell's family and the U.S. Peace Corps in Washington, D.C.

Calling her a "martyred volunteer, " de Venecia said she "touched thousands of Filipino lives during her posting in Luzon as a high school teacher of English and Western literature."

A citation said she brought "light and joy into the lives" of many Filipinos. "She epitomized the ideals of the Peace Corps and of the American people."

Memorial services will be today at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Fairfax, Va., and at the Chapel of St. Christopher's Episcopal Church in Pensacola.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

[Last modified April 27, 2007, 22:45:21]


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