Retired detective arrested in wife's murder on Big Island

Daniel DeJarnette
Daniel DeJarnette
Capt. Robert Wagner
Capt. Robert Wagner
Michelle Smith
Michelle Smith

KAU, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - A retired homicide detective who is accused of killing his wife appeared in a Kona court on Tuesday. Daniel DeJarnette Jr., 59, allegedly murdered his wife, Yu Kue DeJarnette, 56, nearly six years ago. He moved to the Big Island after retiring from the Los Angeles Police Department.

On November 12, 2006, officers responded to a report of an accident at DeJarnette's home in Ocean View. He told police he found his wife lying on a lava embankment near their house.

"It was on the backside of the property, like a hill, embankment-type area just outside the back door. She was a little ways down that embankment area," explained Capt. Robert Wagner of the Hawaii County Police Department.

An autopsy revealed she died of extensive head injuries. Police reclassified the case as a murder. Officers arrested DeJarnette at the time, but released him pending additional investigation. A neighbor said an investigator returned last week with more questions.

"They wanted to know if we thought he actually did it and I was surprised. It happened six years ago and we thought it was squashed," said neighbor Michelle Smith.

A Kona grand jury indicted DeJarnette for second-degree murder on Monday

"I was first assigned to this case in January 2012," said Hawaii County deputy prosecutor Linda Watson. "My investigator and I did additional investigation, including sending some additional things for DNA testing and having some things re-tested."

Officers returned to DeJarnette's home on Monday and arrested him. His bail was set at $200,000.

"He just came out and we had a warrant in our hand and showed it to him, and at that point told him to turn around, put his hands behind his back and he submitted to being arrested," said Wagner.

"I just can't believe it. I was so shocked. Yesterday, I saw the police come, four 5-0 drive up in his driveway and handcuffed him," said Smith.

DeJarnette happened to be interviewed by KGMB in 2009 while he was applying for work at a job fair for Target in Kailua-Kona.

"8 years I've been living here and he's a very nice man. Very quiet. Keeps to himself," said Smith.

An LAPD spokesman said the department is aware that DeJarnette has been arraigned,but declined to comment on the case.

DeJarnette entered a plea of not guilty in court. His trial is set for October.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.