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Angeles County | Community News File / Marina del Rey

Man Gets Life Sentence in Slaying of Woman

July 24, 1998

A man was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without parole for killing a 28-year-old woman over a debt he owed her and trying to sink her body in the marina by handcuffing it to a boat motor.

Taelee Howard was convicted by a Santa Monica Superior Court jury last month of first-degree murder and allegations that he killed Tina Nakamura on July 6, 1996, while lying in wait and for financial gain, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Lydia Spencer.

Howard also was fined $10,000 and ordered to sell his boat, with the proceeds earmarked for the state victims' restitution fund.

Nakamura and Howard met while working for a local supermarket, and Nakamura had lent her friend $1,800 to help pay for the boat he bought from the Boy Scouts and was living on, illegally, in the marina, Spencer said.

When Nakamura began working elsewhere and Howard repeatedly failed to make payments to her, she began pushing him to do so, the prosecutor said. On June 5, 1996, she tracked him down at the marina and he agreed to make payments.

According to testimony in Howard's three-week trial, he bought a pair of handcuffs on July 5, 1996, and made arrangements for Nakamura to come pick up some of the money. July 6 was the last evening she was seen alive.

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