Man Accused of Killing Toddler Indicted on Enhanced Murder Charge

Rom Trader
Rom Trader

HONOLULU (KHNL) - An Oahu grand jury indicted the man accused of killing 23-month-old Cyrus Belt on an enhanced murder charge Thursday. If convicted, Matthew Higa faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Grand jury proceedings take place behind closed doors. A secret hearing for a very public case.

"This case has certainly impacted, you know, the family. They've been devastated by this," Rom Trader, deputy prosecutor, said. "It has also clearly devastated the community, and gotten everybody's attention."

Witnesses say Matthew Higa threw the defenseless little boy off the Miller Street pedestrian overpass last Thursday. At least half a dozen sheriffs provided security, as the high-profile suspect made his first court appearance Tuesday.

Now, prosecutors seek an enhanced murder charge that carries a harsher penalty because the victim was under the age of eight.

"We will be doing everything we possibly can to ensure that Cyrus Belt's death was not in vain, and that we will do everything possible to hold Mr. Higa accountable," Trader said.

Prosecutors tell a judge there are several reasons to keep Higa's bail at $1 million.

"His just completely egregious conduct, coupled with his drug addiction, possibility that he also may have mental health issues, along with his utter and complete disregard for the life of this child, make him an unacceptable and horrendous danger for the public," Trader said.

The 23-year-old remains in custody, unable to post that amount.

The next step for Higa is his Circuit Court arraignment. That's when he'll enter his plea. The date has not been set.