Mother and daughter are victims in apparent murder-suicide - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Mother and daughter are victims in apparent murder-suicide

Saundra and Kristine Cass Saundra and Kristine Cass
Valerie Guillermo Valerie Guillermo
Clayborne Conley Clayborne Conley
Betty White Betty White

By Teri Okita – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A mother and her teenage daughter are dead - victims of an apparent double-murder suicide in Makiki. The gunman appears to have also killed himself.

The driveway at 2009 Makiki street was cordoned off with police tape most of Friday. Detectives spent the pre-dawn hours taking pictures and dusting for fingerprints. When they first arrived at the scene just after one a.m., they found three bodies, including single mother Kristine Cass and her daughter, Saundra.

Neighbor Valerie Guillermo was awakened by a gun going off. "I heard another shot, and I heard another shot with the woman screaming, "Stop, stop, help, help, stop!"

Not long after that, the screams ended. Guillermo says, "Then, she was silent, and then, a man swearing and a couple more shots and then, nothing."

Police also found the lifeless body of a man believed to be Clayborne Conley. They're still investigating the relationship between Conley and 46 year old Cass. Police say they did know each other but were not romantically-involved at the time of the shootings. There are signs of a break-in in the Makiki home.

Clayborne Conley was a former Hawaii National Guardsman with the 29th infantry brigade combat team. He was discharged from the military three years ago for unknown reasons. The 43 year old has a criminal record from 2007 that includes terroristic threatening and assault.

The Cass' had been dog sitting for a neighbor this week, and the dog was also found shot to death.

This morning, 13 year old Saundra's best friend and her friend's mother came to the home to pick her up for school pictures at Sacred Hearts Academy. It was then that police broke the sad news to them.

Friends of both mother and daughter are distraught. Colleagues at Spotlight Hawaii Publishing - where Cass worked - closed up shop early after hearing about what happened. They describe their co-worker as ‘bubbly', and friends say she was a devoted mother to Saundra. By all accounts, she was very involved in her daughter's life.

At Sacred Hearts, school principal Betty White calls Saundra 'a beautiful child'. "She made A's in math and science, but she was also artistic. She loved to dance. She loved to sing. She loved art and was just a well-rounded student," says White.

The eighth grader was a big hit in a school play, joined the student council, and was very popular with classmates. Plans are underway to bring in extra counselors for the students - once they return to school on Tuesday. The school says it will take the students into small groups and be there in case they want to talk or get their emotions out.

Hawaii News Now has learned more about Clayborne Conley. He served in the Hawaii Army National Guard  29th Infantry but was discharged for an undisclosed reason. In 2007, he was jailed for two days, for violating a restraining order involving another woman.

A day after getting out of jail, he was convicted of assault, property damage and terroristic threatening. Conley also mental health problems and spent time at the State Hospital. A fitness panel released him in May.

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