Authorities charge suspect accused in gruesome Big Island murder of elderly man

Published: Jan. 10, 2020 at 10:28 AM HST
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PUNA, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A 30-year-old man arrested Tuesday in a fatal Puna stabbing was seen walking naked in the area just before the violent incident, witnesses said.

Law enforcement authorities announced late Thursday afternoon that Malcolm Utecht had been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the stabbing.

Utecht will also face first-degree burglary and four-degree sexual assault charges.

His bail has been set at $533,000 and he’s set to make his first appearance in a Hilo courtroom Friday.

Meanwhile, police have confirmed the identity of the victim as 71-year-old Solomon A.K.K.M. Matthews, of Eden Roc. An autopsy found he’d died of a stab wound to the neck.

Police sources told Hawaii News Now the murder weapon was a cane.

Police were called to the Eden Roc subdivision about 7 p.m. Tuesday by witnesses who said they’d spotted a naked man blocking traffic around Palainui Avenue.

Video captured by drivers shows a man walking naked in a dark roadway in the subdivision, yelling at passing cars and even trying to get into one.

When officers arrived a few minutes later, they found the man standing over the victim’s body at a home in the area.

“The very first time we passed him, he kind of like saluted us. And then he started saying some weird stuff," said one witness, Mason Kron.

“And then after I dropped off my friend, we passed him again, and then he grabbed onto my window and was like trying to get into my car."

“He was trying to grab me while I was recording. And he said something. I don’t really know,” said Kron’s friend Soloman Adlawan, who used Kron’s phone to get the second video.

“He said something like, ‘look me in the eyes,’” Kron added. “His hand was all bloody, and I don’t know what he was doing before that.”

Others nearby said they heard screams pierce the neighborhood.

“I heard a guy scream super loud, and I heard what I thought was the neighbor, you know, the son. I didn’t know who it was. I just heard a loud scream,” said Cathy Berry, who lives across the street.

The victim was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where he died a few hours later.

Neighbors said they don’t understand how he could have met such a violent end.

“He’s the kind of man that’s always smiling, always happy, because he bothered nobody. So I don’t understand it, really," said Berry.

This story will be updated.

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