Relatives of slain Eden Roc man flock to alleged killer’s hearing

  • JOHN BURNETT/Tribune-Herald Four generations of Solomon Matthews' family, including sister Emily 'Tiny' Mainaaupo, with cane, stand with a portrait of him Friday in a Hilo Courthouse hallway.
  • JOHN BURNETT/Tribune-Herald Malcolm Keith Utecht is led from Hilo District Court on Friday.

Four generations of family of a 71-year-old man who was allegedly beaten and stabbed to death with his own cane by a naked intruder sat in court Friday, some openly sobbing, some cursing softly at the suspect as he was led into and out of the courtroom.

“He went on my brother’s property and beat him to death with the cane I gave him,” said Emily “Tiny” Mainaaupo, sister of the victim, Solomon Matthews, at the initial court appearance of Malcolm Keith Utecht, a 30-year-old former Army sergeant originally from Northern California.

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“We didn’t know the guy at all, where he came from, who he was,” Mainaaupo said while holding a family photo of her brother. “But I’ll be here, every time in this court. I’ll be after him. He’s got to see my brother and see me and these kids.

“How can anybody look at a person in the eye and do that? He was disabled. He could hardly breathe. He could hardly walk.”

Hilo District Judge Kanani Laubach granted a request by Utecht’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Arthur Indiola, for a mental examination of Utecht. She maintained bail at $553,000 for Utecht, who is charged with second-degree murder, first-degree burglary, fourth-degree sexual assault and indecent exposure.

Police on Tuesday responded to Palainui Avenue in Eden Roc subdivision in Mountain View at about 7 p.m. after receiving reports of a naked man on the road who attempted to stop and get into vehicles.

According to a court document filed by police, a witness directed officers to Matthews’ driveway, saying he’d seen the naked man run onto the property. There, officers found Utecht kneeling on the ground of a tent structure on the property, bleeding from the head and picking up rocks.

The document states Utecht was attempting to cover Matthews’ lifeless body — which appeared to have a stab wound to the neck — with his own body.

The document says Utecht resisted several commands to show his hands but was taken into custody after being Tasered.

After being advised of his rights, Utecht told officers “he didn’t know why he did evil, and he just snapped,” the document states. He allegedly told police he “got naked and went for a long walk” before being confronted by a bat-wielding man.

At that point, Utecht said he was scared, ran away and entered Matthews’ house, where there were children inside. There, he was confronted by Matthews, who attempted to defend himself by using his cane to hit Utecht.

According to Utecht, the cane broke during the altercation, and he used a broken piece of the cane to stab Matthews in the neck, the document states.

Preliminary findings of an autopsy conducted Thursday indicated the cause of death was a perforated trachea and left lung from a stab wound to the neck, and the manner of death was homicide.

“Our family’s tore up from this,” Mainaaupo said. “I can’t believe a stranger would come here and do this to our family. We didn’t do anything. We didn’t know him.

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“My brother was 71 years old. He’s an old man. I don’t know why he would beat up on an old man. He couldn’t breathe. He had heart attacks. How could someone do this to him?”

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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