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Victim of fatal stabbing is described as easygoing and soft-spoken

Earl Grant III was a homeless ex-Marine

By Rob Shikina

LAST UPDATED: 4:52 a.m. HST, Sep 24, 2010


The 38-year-old homeless man and ex-Marine who was stabbed to death in Waikiki was likely trying to protect a friend when he was stabbed, said an acquaintance who lives near Waikiki.

The Honolulu Medical Examiner's Office identified the victim yesterday as Earl Grant III of Honolulu. He died of a cardiac condition due to a stab wound to the heart, the office said.

Police said the stabbing began with a dispute among three or more men at the corner of Kapahulu and Kalakaua avenues about 9:50 p.m. Wednesday.

The suspect in the stabbing told a security guard that he was attacked by three men, who fled in different directions, police said. 

The security guard pursued one of the men, Grant, who collapsed near the Kapiolani Park Bandstand, police said. He was taken to the hospital, where he died.

 A 29-year-old Palolo man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of second-degree murder and had not been charged by this evening.

Paul Wilbourn, who is homeless, said he knew Grant only as "Easy" because he was easygoing.

He said Grant lived on the slopes of Diamond Head and would often play dominoes or throw a football with the guys at Kapiolani Park.

"He's a good humble fellow, soft-spoken," he said. "I liked him."

Wilbourn said Grant hung out with another man named "Pete" and was with him when he was stabbed. He said Pete probably got into trouble with the suspect, who is known to walk around "talking to himself," and Easy tried to intervene.

"Easy was protecting him," he said. "That's what happened."

Grant came to Hawaii from Texas as a Marine in the early 1990s, said his sister, Trina Grant, who spoke by phone from Fort Hood in Texas.

He graduated in 1990 from John Jay High School in San Antonio and joined the Marines soon after, then was stationed in Hawaii before leaving the Marines after four years. About 10 years ago he married a local woman, but they separated a few years ago, Grant said.

"We've been trying to get him to move back to the (mainland), but he loved the islands," Grant said. "He's very outdoorsy. He enjoyed anything that involved the outdoors, hiking, fishing, swimming, surfing."

The last time she saw him was in October 2008 when he returned home briefly to see her before she deployed to Iraq.

"He was good," Grant said. "We spent a week together."

He worked a variety of jobs, first for six years at a penitentiary on Oahu, but quit because he didn't like the way the prisoners were treated, she said. He also did manual labor and drove a taxi in 2008.

She said after finding out he was homeless last year, she yelled at him, but he explained it wasn't as bad as on the mainland.

"I was trying to explain to him just because it may not be as bad as the (mainland), it's still out in the open," she said. 

She added, "He's not the type of person who would start anything. He's always been fair and about justice, more than likely he was either trying to protect or trying to stop something or protect his own.

"He was a good man."

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