Airman Sentenced To Life In Murder Case Which Involved The Deceased Wife


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Airman Sentenced To Life In Murder Case Which Involved The Deceased Wife

By Daniel Baxter

February 11, 2012 - Kadena Air Base, Air Force Staff Sgt. Nicholas Cron, 26, of the 733rd Air Mobility Squadron, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder, premeditated murder and obstruction of justice and on Thursday Cron was sentenced to life without parole for stabbing death of Tech. Sgt. Curtis Eccleston on Feb. 6, 2011. 

Cron pleaded guilty in November, as part of an agreement with military prosecutors in order to avoid the death penalty. Investigators reported Eccleston, 30, was found dead in a pool of blood with his neck and throat slashed in his off-base apartment in Okinawa?s Mihama district, Japan. Japanese police recovered knives that had been used in the attack from a river outside Naha, acting on tips given to Air Force officials by Cron.  

Cron was arrested on February 13, 2011 and held at the Marine Corps Brig at Camp Hansen, Okinawa. Japanese police arrested Eccleston's widow, Barbara Keiko Eccleston, that same week due to her suspected connection in the murder case. Barbara Keiko Eccleston, 32, was latter charged by Japanese prosecutors as an accomplice in the murder and is currently being held by local authorities while awaiting trial.

Cron admitted he plotted with Eccleston?s wife to kill her husband a year before the killing. Cron, who was a Staff Sergeant E-5 received a reduction in rank to airman basic, forfeiture of all military pay and a dishonorable discharge. 

Authorities reported Cron and Barbara Eccleston staged the crime to look like a theft gone bad, with Cron taking a laptop computer and a cell phone belonging to the victim. Kron?s defense was that he was manipulated into committing the crime by Barbara, who?d told him her husband was abusive and had caused a miscarriage. Cron said "In early to mid-November [2010], Barbara Eccleston sent me a text message asking me to kill her husband." "I made a terrible mistake and hurt many people. I said, ?Yes.'  

Cron on that Saturday night, in early morning of February 6, 2011, dressed all in black, with a bag packed with two knives, surgical gloves and towels he went to the Ecclestons' apartment. He rang the Ecclestons' doorbell which was around 4 AM, when Eccleston answered the door, Cron stepped into the apartment and slashed at Eccleston's neck with a box cutter knife and a hunting knife. "I could see blood coming out of his neck and he was having trouble breathing."

Cron said as Eccleston slumped on his kitchen floor, he called Barbara Eccleston so she could hear her husband die. "While Barbara was on the phone, we could still hear a breathing sound coming from his body" that?s when Cron cut Eccleston carotid artery.


Kadena Air Base is a United States Air Force base in the towns of Kadena and Chatan and the city of Okinawa, in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. Kadena Air Base is the hub of U.S. airpower in the Pacific, and home to the USAF's 18th Wing and a variety of associate units.

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