comscore Man, 61, charged with fatally beating his 82-year-old mother on Hawaii island | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Man, 61, charged with fatally beating his 82-year-old mother on Hawaii island

UPDATE 2:35 p.m.

A 61-year-old Keaau man has been charged with brutally beating his 82-year-old mother to death in Hawaiian Paradise Park.

Robert Dean Merrill was charged with second-degree murder today. He remained in police custody with a bail of $1 million and had an initial court appearance scheduled for Monday in Hilo.

Police identified Merrill’s mother as Betty Jean Merrill.

This was the second family-related murder in a week on Hawaii island.

On Friday, prosecutors charged James Bonham, 66, with murder in the shooting death of his 45-year-old son Joshua Bonham at about 9 p.m. Tuesday in Kona. Police said the younger Bonham died of a gunshot wound to his back.

Over the objections of the deputy prosecutor, Judge Margaret Masunaga granted Bonham supervised release until his preliminary hearing, scheduled for June 30.


Hawaii County police arrested a 61-year-old Keaau man this morning suspected of killing an 82-year-old woman, who was found with numerous injuries inside her Hawaiian Paradise Park home.

Police said that shortly before 9 a.m., Puna patrol offices went to a 15th Avenue home and found the suspect outside.

Lt. Rio Ammon-Wilkins said that police are still trying to determine the relationship between the man and the woman, and whether he was living in the home.

They went into the home and were directed to a bedroom where they discovered an unconscious woman with severe injuries to her head and face.

Police arrested the man at 9:45 a.m.

The woman, meanwhile was taken to the Hilo Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 12:39 p.m. Friday.

An autopsy performed this afternoon showed that the woman died of blunt force trauma to the head, face and neck and that the manner of death was ruled a homicide.

The 61-year-old man was taken to the Hilo cell block, where he remains, while detectives continue their investigation into the woman’s death.

He was arrested on suspicion of second-degree attempted murder, but has not yet been charged.

The identification of the woman is being withheld pending identification and notification of next of kin.

Although the suspect was identified by police, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser is not naming him until he is charged.

Anyone with information about this murder is asked to contact Detective Wendall Carter at 961-2383 or or call the non-emergency police line at 935-3311.

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