Tuesday, April 13, 1999

Teens labeled victim a
‘faggot’ before killing him,
prosecution says

By Susan Kreifels


The prosecution said at a murder trial yesterday that thinking the victim was "gay" or a "faggot" was all it took to persuade five teen-age boys who had been drinking to go after the man, who was taking a shower in a Neal Blaisdell Park restroom with his girlfriend waiting nearby.

The defense told jurors that the boys talked about the victim having made "sexual gestures" toward one of them who had used the restroom, then returned to his friends at a picnic table. The group later walked into the restroom, and a fight ended in a fatal stabbing.

Outside the courtroom, however, neither attorney pressed homosexuality as a motive. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Glenn Kim said the motive was unclear.

Deputy Public Defender Todd Eddins said homosexuality did not play a role in the killing and that the prosecution was "trying to muddy the water."

The trial started yesterday for Pierre Fetu Taifai, 18, who turned himself in for stabbing Alton J. Anderson, 23, on Aug. 1 at Blaisdell Park in Pearl City.

Kim said Taifai was guilty of second-degree murder for brutally stabbing the victim 11 times.

Eddins said Taifai was only protecting himself and his friends from an "evil-looking man snapping and raging."

Taifai, who has no juvenile record, was 17 when he stabbed Anderson. Family Court waived jurisdiction over the youth.

Kim said Anderson and his girlfriend, Carrie Gusman, were homeless and lived in a makeshift hut under a nearby bridge. They took showers in the Blaisdell Park restroom every night.

On Aug. 1, Kim said Gusman saw a young man -- Sven "Tony" Taifai, the defendant's 15-year-old brother -- use the restroom, then leave without saying anything.

Sven Taifai rejoined his brother and friends, who had been drinking through the night. He told them, " 'There's a faggot in there, a gay guy,' " Kim said. "That is all it takes. The defendant is up like a shot," and five boys headed to the restroom.

One boy jumped on Anderson, and the rest attacked him, Kim said. The defendant stabbed Anderson with his butterfly knife, later throwing it out a car window.

Gusman called 911, Kim said, and police arrived to find Anderson's body in a large pool of blood.

Eddins described the defendant as a young man who had never been in trouble. "Aug. 1, 1998, started up as one of the best days in his life," Eddins said.

The defendant was born to a military family in Germany. He had trouble with schoolwork because of language problems at Waianae High School and was held back a year.

He wanted to join the military and was chosen to be part of Youth Challenge, a "boot camp" styled program at Barbers Point. Pierre Taifai was awarded "most improved student" in spring 1998, Eddins said.

He took summer courses at Leeward Community College and received a certificate of completion on Aug. 1, then met with friends that night.

When they arrived at the park, Sven Taifai was shocked to see Anderson in the bathroom. "There was a large naked man making gestures," Eddins said. "The man thought he owned the bathroom, that it was his lair."

Sven Taifai returned upset and there was talk of "sexual gestures" and the victim being an "idiot," Eddins said.

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