Witness: Woman beaten to death on police station steps asked for help before attack

The woman who was beaten to death on the steps of the Kapolei police sub-station had allegedly asked a passerby for help just before the attack.
Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 4:49 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2022 at 4:52 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The woman who was beaten to death last month on the steps of the Kapolei police substation asked a passerby for water and “emergency assistance” just before the attack.

On Wednesday afternoon, that witness testified at suspect Michael Armstrong’s preliminary hearing.

Thomas Smith, the witness, said the woman approached him on the steps of the police station a little after 6:30 p.m. on February 15. He says he got her two bottles of water before walking inside and telling an officer working behind the desk that there was a woman who needed help.

“She got up from her desk. Came in front of the glass and we had a conversation about it,” Smith said.

“She didn’t come out of the doors to check on the lady. She went deeper into the station.”

Smith told the court he was on the phone waiting inside the police station lobby when he noticed a man screaming, causing a commotion out front.

He said he couldn’t see exactly what he was doing but that it went on for between 20 and 30 minutes.

“I could see the tree area getting punched to the point where a tree got punched loose and ripped out,” Smith said. “I could see that person slamming the tree to the ground.

“You could actually hear that sound. I remember telling my wife there’s a person out there going crazy. I could not see that there was a person it was being done to.”

When Smith did go back outside, he says he saw Armstrong with what he described as a blank stare, standing over the woman who’d asked him for help.

The 48-year-old was identified as Linda Johnson. Smith says she was unrecognizable.

He told the court that he ran back inside the police station and pounded on the glass at the front desk.

No one responded so he called 911.

Smith pointed out Armstrong to officers who arrived and he was immediately taken into custody.

Officer Nicholas Kim responded to the scene. He said Armstrong had “fresh blood” covering his hands and feet. Kim said he rushed to help Johnson and that she didn’t have a pulse so he started CPR.

He said she never regained consciousness.

Armstrong had just been released from jail minutes before the attack.

He had been arrested a day prior for assaulting a police officer. Armstrong’s family told HNN the 35-year-old has a long history of mental illness.

On Wednesday afternoon, Judge Tracy Fukui ruled Armstrong should go to trial for murder. He’ll be back in court for an arraignment March 21.

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