The 40-year-old man accused in the stabbing death of a 52-year-old homeless man in Kakaako claimed it was self-defense, according to court documents filed at Honolulu District Court today.
Eric P. Butler appeared before Judge Alvin Nishimura via video conferencing from the courthouse cellblock on a second-degree murder charge in the death of Keith B.M.M. Koga.
Butler remains in custody in lieu of $1 million bail.
Police said two men were involved in a physical altercation in Kakaako that resulted in the deadly stabbing shortly before 6:50 p.m. Wednesday.
Officers responded and observed a man later identified as Koga lying face down in a pool of blood on the sidewalk fronting 611 Keawe St., court documents said. Koga’s chest, back and arms were also covered in blood.
Police administered medical aid and observed several lacerations to his chest and a one-inch laceration to his neck. Koga was taken in critical condition to Queen’s Medical Center where he later died from multiple lacerations to his back and neck.
Police said a witness driving on Keawe Street saw Butler stabbing Koga and then observed Butler enter Halekauwila Place, a high-rise apartment building at 665 Halekauwila St. located around the corner from the scene.
Police noted a trail of blood from the sidewalk on Keawe Street to the lobby and one of the high-rise’s elevators.
When officers arrived at a third floor unit of the building where Butler resides, police said Butler told them he pulled a knife on Koga when Koga allegedly attacked him.
Police observed lacerations to Butler’s right hand. They recovered a silver folding knife from his pants and arrested him on suspicion of murder.
Officers recovered surveillance video from a dive shop on Keawe Street near the scene of the stabbing.
Koga has a criminal record in Hawaii dating back to 1987 that include three felony convictions, 17 misdemeanor convictions and four petty misdemeanor convictions.