Family of Man Accused of Killing Tourist from North Carolina Speaks

Theona Schnabel
Theona Schnabel

NANAKULI (KHNL) -- He suffered a fatal blow to the head on his first day in Hawaii. As family and friends of a North Carolina man deal with their loss, the mother of the accused killer is expressing her sympathies. She talks with KHNL News 8, following her son's first court appearance in the case Friday.

A 21-year-old high school dropout faces the toughest challenge of his life.

"He specifically told me he's not a murderer and he would never do that to somebody, not kill somebody," Theona Schnabel, suspect's mother, said.

Theona Schnabel's son, Less Schnabel, is charged with manslaughter. He's accused of punching Christopher Reuther near his left ear, causing the visitor from North Carolina to collapse and later die.

"From what he told me, that he did not touch anybody," Theona Schnabel said. "He doesn't remember anything."

Investigators say the unprovoked attack happened at Zablan Beach Park in Nanakuli the night of April 22nd. They say the law school hopeful was looking for a place to camp, after attending a luau.

"Our whole family, because we're mixed up in this, we send our deepest, deepest sympathy to the other side family," the suspect's mother said.

The dean of the University of Hawaii law school describes Reuther as remarkable. The school was hoping the 34-year-old would enroll this fall.

The suspect remains in custody, unable to post $100,000 bail. His family is caring for his one-year-old son, Blazen.

"Right now, we're suffering," Theona Schnabel said. "I know the other family is suffering, but we're also suffering, too."

Less Schnabel's preliminary hearing is scheduled for next Tuesday.