Utah double murder suspect arrested in Hawaii agrees to extradition

(Image: Family)
(Image: Family)
(Image: Family)
(Image: Family)

HALEIWA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A man who's accused of murdering his girlfriend and her 3-year-old son in Utah in 2015 waived his right to an extradition hearing in a Honolulu courtroom Tuesday.

Christopher Poulson, 28, told Circuit Court Judge Colette Garibaldi that he was willing to return to Orem, Utah.

He has been charged with two counts of aggravated murder and one count of obstruction of justice.

Court documents identify the victims as Emily Almiron and her son, 3-year-old Gabriel.

Poulson is accused of murdering the two in Sept. 2015, disposing of their bodies, and then abandoning his girlfriend's car in a nearby town. Authorities said he concealed other important evidence.

"Since that time he has continually obstructed the investigation through his lies," said Orem Police Chief Gary Giles at a news conference on Tuesday.

Steven Nichols, a deputy public defender in Honolulu, said that Poulson planned to fight the charges.

"While he maintains his innocence as to the charges, he is willing to agree to the extradition process so he can go back to the state of Utah," said Nichols.

When Judge Garibaldi asked Poulson if he suffered from any mental illness or emotional disability, he said that he has a little bit of anxiety and depression at times.

Honolulu police records show that Poulson was arrested on an extradition warrant Friday at 10:45 p.m. in Haleiwa. Police sources say he was picked up at Haleiwa Joe's, where he was working in the kitchen. The manager declined to comment.

Authorities say after the alleged murders, Poulson bought a shovel, work gloves and bed sheets.

He then buried their bodies at undisclosed location, unsealed court documents say.

Rhoana Johnston worked with Poulson and Almiron at different times at an Italian restaurant in Orem.

"I hope he will confess and tell us where they are so we can give them a final resting place, get the closure that everyone needs," she said.

After his girlfriend and her son went missing, Poulson told police that they had broken up because "he found some of her drug paraphernalia in their apartment and could not tolerate that."

But court documents say that it was actually Poulson who was using and selling illegal drugs.

Utah authorities say Poulson came to Hawaii in August, after he was questioned by FBI agents about the murders.

His neighbors in Haleiwa told Hawaii News Now he recently moved into a home off Nalimu Rd. in early October.

They described him as a nice, polite man who often kept to himself.

During Tuesday's news conference, Almiron's mother thanked investigators for their dedication to the case.

"Because of their excellent work, we have answers, and we can go forward with the purpose of recovering Emily and Gabriel’s bodies with the purpose of bringing them home," said Brenda Marsh. "This anguish will never surpass the incredible joy that they were ours and that we were blessed to be our family."

"The complete disappearance of Emily and Gabriel and their abandonment of all their property, coupled with defendant's actions and obstructions and lies to police, show that defendant murdered Emily and 3-year-old Gabriel in the same criminal episode, and then wrapped them in sheets to move their bodies and then buried or otherwise disposed of and concealed their bodies," Utah court documents said.

"Defendant later packed some of their things and drove Emily's red Toyota Prius to St. George and abandoned it in an attempt to deflect suspicion regarding their disappearance from himself."

Garibaldi refused to let Poulson out on bail. A court date in Utah has not yet been set. Prosecutors could choose to pursue the death penalty.

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