Witness says defendant called machete victim a demon

WAILUKU, Maui (AP) — A defendant on trial for killing a Hawaii man with a machete called the victim and his companion “demons” before he attacked, a witness testified.

Kumulipo Sylva, 24, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the March 2018 killing of 35-year-old Eduardo Alejandro Cerezo.


Kyle Keoho testified during a trial Tuesday that Sylva threatened them with a machete at the Queen Kaahumanu Center on Maui.

Keoho said he heard Sylva say, “You guys are demons, I send them to the moon,” before striking Cerezo’s neck with the machete.

“Believe it or not, he was a demon,” Keoho said Sylva told him after the victim fell to the ground at the shopping center.

Cerezo died instantly, according to Deputy Prosecutor Carson Tani, who called the attack a “brutal slaying.”

Sylva was suffering from a mental disorder that caused him to experience delusions, said Deputy Public Defender Ben Lowenthal.

“Kumulipo Sylva walks into the bathroom at the mall and he does not see a human being,” Lowenthal said. “He does not see Alex Cerezo as a person. He sees a demon, a creature from hell.”

The jury could find Sylva guilty by reason of insanity and commit him to a hospital, Lowenthal said.


Sylva had challenged Cerezo to a fight in a nearby parking structure earlier in the afternoon, Keoho said, explaining that they were drinking alcohol in a public bathroom when Sylva entered and attacked.

Keoho also heard Sylva talking about demons on a public bus all three men rode to the shopping center, he testified.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiwarriorworld@staradvertiser.com.