CORRECTION 2-15-2021, 2:18 p.m.: A previous version of this story erroneously stated it was Buffett’s father who came to the apartment after the stabbing. It was the father of the woman witness. The Tribune-Herald regrets the error.
A Hilo grand jury returned an indictment Wednesday in the Halloween stabbing death of a 39-year-old woman in her Puueo Street apartment.
Davi Franklin Alvarez Sr., who was 41 at the time of the fatal attack, is the first individual to be indicted for a homicide by the grand jury since it began meeting again after months of inactivity because of the coronavirus pandemic. He was charged with second-degree murder.
The victim was Noelle Buffett, who, according to court documents filed by police, had kicked Alvarez and Alvarez’s girlfriend out of her unit at the Hilo Val Hala Apartment complex.
A woman who had gone to Buffett’s apartment on Oct. 31 with Alvarez and another man told police she was in room adjacent to Buffett’s when she heard Buffett scream “Ow! Ow! Ow!” and ask the other man for help because she was bleeding, documents state.
According to documents, the woman told police that through a partially open door, she saw the other man forcefully move Alvarez down a hallway and heard the man ask Alvarez, “What the (expletive) are you doing? Why did you do that?”
The woman and her father, who had been summoned to the apartment, called police.
When police arrived, they found Buffett’s lifeless body on the floor of her room with a single stab wound to her upper chest near the collarbone, documents state.
Alvarez was arrested less than three hours later near the corner of Kapiolani and Hualalai Streets, near the Hilo police station.
According to court documents, Alvarez had a Benchmade folding knife with a green handle and black blade in his front right pocket when apprehended.
While being booked at the station, Alvarez allegedly told a detective, “I never stab the girl.”
Officers hadn’t told Alvarez that the victim was female or that she died of a stab wound, according to documents.
According to the indictment, prosecutors consider Alvarez a persistent offender because of convictions for second-degree assault, felony domestic abuse, first-degree terroristic threatening and second-degree escape, all Class C felonies, between 2002 and 2015.
That would allow a judge to sentence Alvarez to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, upon conviction, instead of the mandatory sentence of life with the possibility of parole that the offense usually carries.
Alvarez, who remains in custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center in lieu of $1 million bail, has a mental examination pending in Hilo District Court. The indictment, however, moves his case to Hilo Circuit Court, which has issued a bench warrant for his re-arrest for arraignment and plea.
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.