KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (KOIN 6) — A Marine charged with the murder of a prostitute visiting Hawaii is claiming he acted in self-defense.
The defense made a surprise move in the court martial of Master Sgt. Nathaniel Cosby at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay on Monday for the murder of 29-year-old Ivanice “Ivy” Harris.
Cosby’s attorney, Lt. Col. Clay Plummer, claimed in court that Cosby acted in self-defense when Harris pulled a knife on him in his hotel room. The two struggled, according to the defense, and Harris died during that struggle.
The Associated Press reported that a Honolulu police detective testified at a hearing last year that surveillance footage showed Cosby and Harris meeting outside a Waikiki bar and kissing in the elevator of Cosby’s hotel.
Footage later showed Cosby alone in the elevator pulling a large duffel bag and loading the bag in the back of a vehicle, the detective said at the Article 32 hearing, which is the military justice system’s equivalent of a preliminary hearing in civilian court.
Cosby told detectives he met Harris in Waikiki but she was gone when he woke up.
Harris was originally from Oregon. She was visiting Hawaii to celebrate her 29th birthday with her boyfriend, who was also her pimp, and two other women.
Harris’ disappearance started out as a missing person case, after one of the women who traveled to Hawaii with her reported her missing.
She was found on May 20 after a boy and his family called police to report they found a body in a remote area near Yokohama Beach Park, about 40 miles west of Waikiki.
Cosby is an explosive ordnance disposal technician with Marine Wing Support Squadron-171 in the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing based in Iwakuni, Japan. He was on temporary duty assignment in Hawaii last May.
Cosby has also been charged with obstructing justice and attempting to patronize a prostitute.
He has been held at a military detention facility in Pearl Harbor while awaiting trial. If convicted, Cosby could face life in prison without parole.
Honolulu police began the investigation into Harris’ disappearance and death, but the Naval Criminal Investigative Service took over the case.
LIN Media sister station KHON and The Associated Press contributed to this report.