Request granted for mental exam of suspect in Halloween murder

  • KELSEY WALLING/Tribune-Herald Davi Alvarez Sr. appears Wednesday in Hilo District Court with Deputy Public Defender Patrick Munoz.

A woman who was in the apartment of Noelle Buffett when she was allegedly stabbed to death early Saturday afternoon said the suspect, 41-year-old Davi Franklin Alvarez Sr, and Alvarez’s girlfriend had been kicked out of the unit at Hilo Val Hala on Puueo Street by Buffet a few days earlier, according to court documents filed by police.

Documents state the woman was picked up by Alvarez and another man in front of Irie Hawaii smoke shop on Kinoole Street, and they all went to Buffett’s apartment. She reportedly told police she was in a room adjacent to Buffett’s room when she heard the 39-year-old woman scream, “Ow! Ow! Ow!” and then ask the other man for help because she was bleeding.

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The woman said that through a partially open door she saw the other man forcefully move Alvarez down the hallway, according to documents. According to the woman, the other man said to Alvarez, “What the (expletive) are you doing? Why did you do that?”

Scared, the woman retreated into the room and locked the door, documents state. She said the other man pounded on the door and screamed for her to open it as she called her father for help on her phone, because she could no longer hear Buffett.

When the woman’s father arrived, she left the room and let him in, documents state, and Alvarez and the other man had left. The woman and her father then went to Buffett’s room. The door was locked, so they opened it forcefully.

After discovering the lifeless body of Buffett on the floor, they called police.

Police say Buffett was lying on her back with a single stab wound to her upper chest near the collarbone.

Davi Alvarez was arrested less than three hours later after officers spotted him walking near the corner of Kapiolani and Hualalai streets, by the Hilo police station, with a brown paper bag containing a Hurricane malt liquor, documents state.

Officers searched Alvarez and found a Benchmade folding knife with a green handle and black blade in his front right pocket, documents state. Alvarez allegedly told police he found the knife under a dumpster.

He also reportedly told officers he just wanted to drink his beer because he was mourning his friend.

While being processed at the station, Alvarez told a detective, “I not a murderer. I not like that. I never stab the girl,” documents state. Police say Alvarez hadn’t been told by officers that the victim was female or that she died of a stab wound.

During Alvarez’s initial appearance Wednesday in Hilo District Court, Judge Kanani Laubach granted a prosecution request for an examination by a panel of three mental health professionals and ordered Alvarez to return to court at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 22.

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Laubach maintained Alvarez’s bail at $1 million. He remains in custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center.

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

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