- The Washington Times - Friday, April 27, 2007

The man suspected of beating to death a Peace Corps volunteer from Fairfax surrendered yesterday and confessed on television, saying he erupted in rage when she bumped into him as he was fuming over a feud with a neighbor.

“I admit it, yes. I killed her, but I did not do whatever other people are thinking I did,” Juan Duntugan told ABS-CBN television in the Philippines, apparently referring to speculation that Julia Campbell of Fairfax may have been killed during an attempted rape or robbery.

“I did not plan to kill Ms. Campbell, harm her,” Mr. Duntugan said, appearing remorseful and shaking his head.

He claimed he dropped a bundle of clothes when Miss Campbell, embarking on a solo hike April 8 to see Philippines’ Ifugao province’s famed mountainside rice terraces, bumped him from behind.

“My mind went blank,” Mr. Duntugan 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.”

Senior Superintendent Pedro Ganir, police chief of northern Ifugao province, where Miss Campbell’s body was found April 18 in a shallow grave, told the Associated Press Mr. Duntugan’s mother convinced him to surrender to the authorities.

“We provided him security so that he will not be harmed,” Mr. Ganir said.

Mr. Duntungan’s wife had sold Miss Campbell a soft drink before her hike, and a boy has told police that he saw him near the grave that day. Mr. Duntugan, a woodcarver who lives in the area, went into hiding the next day.

A police autopsy showed that Miss Campbell, who worked as a freelance journalist for the New York Times and other media organizations, was killed by multiple blows to the head, and that her arms were injured, indicating she tried to defend herself.

Police earlier suspected Miss Campbell was bludgeoned with an object used to pound rice that was recovered near Mr. Duntugan’s house, but forensic tests showed a stain on it was not blood.

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