Two schools in Kalihi mourn victims of Mililani double-murder suicide

Arleen Domondon
Arleen Domondon
Catherine Payne
Catherine Payne

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

KALIHI (KHNL) - Faculty and students at two Kalihi schools are in mourning after Wednesday's news of a double murder-suicide in Mililani.

Grineline James was a beloved teacher at Farrington High School. Her son was an exceptional student at St. John the Baptist Catholic School. The two were murdered in their home.

The art pieces Michael James II recently worked on in summer school are on display. He would have been a 3rd grader at St. John the Baptist Catholic School this fall.

"He's won several awards for his academic excellence," Arleen Domondon, St. John vice principal, said.

Police found the 7-year-old's body, and the bodies of his parents, in their Mililani Mauka home Wednesday. Domondon heard about the deaths from her teachers.

"The first thing I thought was maybe it was an accident because that seemed more probable than the next thing that came out of their mouth that it was a murder-suicide case," she said. "And we were just in shock."

Autopsies reveal 39-year-old Grineline James died from strangulation, while her young son drowned. Both had also suffered blows to the head.

As for husband and father Michael James, the Medical Examiner says the 43-year-old hanged himself.

"Nothing can prepare you for news like that," Catherine Payne, Farrington High principal, said.

At Farrington High, there's a feeling of emptiness. School officials describe Grineline James as a master teacher, who was set to become the chair of the English as a Second Language department this fall.

"Her classroom was just a magic place where students learned and just loved the experience," Payne said.

Both schools say they didn't see any warning signs.

"She was just always positive and cheerful," Payne said.

"They were always a really friendly couple, really loving, supporting of each other," Domondon said.

Flowers and balloons now adorn the driveway of the family's home.

"It was so unexpected that I think we're still in shock," Payne said.

Both schools are offering counseling to their students and staff.