Two Men Accused of Very Public Killings Appear Before Judge - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Two Men Accused of Very Public Killings Appear Before Judge

Matthew Higa Matthew Higa
Shelton Higa Shelton Higa
Police say Higa tossed a toddler off the Miller Street pedestrian overpass in front of horrified witnesses last Thursday Police say Higa tossed a toddler off the Miller Street pedestrian overpass in front of horrified witnesses last Thursday
Alapeti Tunoa Alapeti Tunoa
Investigators say Tunoa rammed his estranged girlfriend's car and then beat her repeatedly with a shotgun in Kailua last Wednesday Investigators say Tunoa rammed his estranged girlfriend's car and then beat her repeatedly with a shotgun in Kailua last Wednesday

By Minna Sugimoto

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Two murder suspects, who share some things in common, made their initial appearances in an Oahu courtroom Tuesday. Both Alapeti Tunoa and Matthew Higa are accused of killing people in very public ways.

With at least half a dozen sheriffs providing security, 23-year-old Matthew Higa appears before an Oahu judge. Police say he tossed a toddler off the Miller Street pedestrian overpass in front of horrified witnesses last Thursday.

Cyrus Belt, who was one year and 11 months old, died on the H-1 Freeway below.

"There's been so much light shed on this case. How difficult has it been for you?" this reporter asked the suspect's father.

"Yeah, especially when all the truth hasn't come out yet," Shelton Higa replied.

Five days after the jaw-dropping incident, a makeshift memorial continues to grow.

The suspect's father sits in the gallery during the brief hearing. He says his son is a drug user, who previously showed signs of mental illness.

"Enough kind of behavior where I wanted it to him see a doctor," Shelton Higa said.

Also appearing in court is 30-year-old Alapeti Tunoa. Investigators say he rammed his estranged girlfriend's car with his SUV, then beat her repeatedly with a shotgun.

It happened on Maluniu Avenue in Kailua last Wednesday. Twenty-nine-year-old Janel Tupuola was killed.

There are similarities between the suspects. Both Tunoa and Higa are charged with murder, and bail for each is set at $1 million. Both are accused of committing their crimes with little regard for who was watching.

"Is there anything you want to say to the victim's family?" this reporter asked Matthew Higa's father.

"No comment. No comment," Shelton Higa replied.

"How did your son look to you today?" this reporter asked.

"Uh, pretty worn, I guess," Shelton Higa replied.

An Oahu grand jury determined there's enough evidence to send Tunoa's case to trial. In addition to murder, he's charged with criminal property damage, terroristic threatening, assault and firearms offenses.

As for Higa, a preliminary hearing is tentatively set for Thursday.

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