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Self-defense ruling baffles victim’s sister


The younger sister of the 38-year-old homeless man killed Wednesday in Waikiki is upset that prosecutors have closed the case after determining the stabbing to be self-defense.

"I’m confused, really," Trina Grant said by phone from Texas. "He killed somebody."

Palolo resident Brandon Wright, 29, was cleared as a murder suspect at 3 p.m. yesterday but remained in police custody last night unable to post $100 bail for an unrelated warrant, police said.

He was originally booked on suspicion of second-degree murder.

Prosecutors dismissed the case after determining Wright acted in self-defense, said Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Jim Fulton.

Wright had recently filed two complaints against the victim, Earl Grant III, bolstering his defense, said a source who disclosed the information on condition of anonymity.

Grant died Wednesday night after he was stabbed in the chest during a dispute at Kalakaua and Kapahulu avenues.

Without naming Wright, police said that at about 9:50 p.m. he pointed out three men to a security officer and said they had attacked him. The security officer chased one man, later identified as Grant, who collapsed to the ground. Grant was taken to the hospital, where he died of a stab wound to his heart, authorities said.

Police said they recovered the weapon.

Trina Grant, the victim’s sister, wondered why the man had to stab her brother in the chest, and struggled with the idea that Wright was cleared.

"How is that self-defense when you have a weapon and the other person doesn’t?" she asked. "I don’t get that. It’s like a puzzle that doesn’t fit, pieces don’t match up."

She was surprised by the claim that Wright had filed two cases against her brother, saying her brother "wouldn’t start anything."

"If it’s true, it’s just a part of my brother that I never knew," she said.

While upset with the prosecutor’s decision, she said her family will move forward and try to come to Hawaii next week to pick up her brother’s remains.

"Whatever the law doesn’t fix, it’ll happen on Judgment Day," she said. "There’s a reason for everything."

Grant came to Hawaii as a Marine after graduating in 1990 from John Jay High School in San Antonio. He left the Marines after four years and stayed in Honolulu. About 10 years ago he married a local woman, but the couple separated, his sister said.

"We’ve been trying to get him to move back to the (mainland), but he loved the islands," she said.

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."


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