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Friday, July 14, 2000

Police: Murder
suspect cried as
he confessed

He'll be tried for allegedly
shooting his girlfriend's
father in the face

By Anthony Sommer
Kauai correspondent


LIHUE -- Matthew Blankswade has been bound over to Kauai Circuit Court to be tried for the shotgun murder of Jeffrey Brisebois, his girlfriend's father.

At a preliminary hearing yesterday, District Judge Clifford Nakea ordered him to appear in Circuit Court to enter a plea on July 25.

Blankswade also is charged with six firearms violations stemming from the theft of guns from a former employer, including the shotgun allegedly used to kill Brisebois.

Blankswade, 21, is accused of shooting Brisebois, 48, in the face with a 12-gauge shotgun as Brisebois slept in his Wainiha home early on the morning of June 26.

Prosecutors and detectives conceded that even though Blankswade confessed to the killing and led police to the murder weapon, there is no physical evidence linking him to the crime. The shotgun currently is at the Honolulu Police Department crime lab, and it is not known whether there are any fingerprints on it.

Blankswade confessed to detectives Saturday afternoon. Until then, he admitted moving the body but insisted that his girlfriend, Amber Brisebois, 18, was the shooter. In his confession, he said that she stood in the bedroom doorway and watched him kill her father.

Amber Brisebois initially was arrested but has been released pending further investigation.

Police released little information about Blankswade. They have said only that he is a Navy veteran and indicated that he met Amber Brisebois on the mainland.

Detective Marvin Rivera testified Blankswade was "crying uncontrollably" when he admitted killing Brisebois. "He got up. He walked to a sink that was in the room. He curled up in a fetal position on the floor. He kept saying over and over he was sorry."

Blankswade told detectives Amber Brisebois wanted her father off the property, which she and her brother own, so a group of her friends could move in there.

Jeffrey Brisebois lived in the largest house. Blankswade, Amber Brisebois and Blankswade's brother, Ben, and his girlfriend lived in what they called the "Little House." Another couple lives in a third home on the property.

Brisebois transferred ownership of his property,in a remote mountainous area in Wainiha on Kauai's north shore, to his daughter and son during a lengthy legal battle with neighbors over property lines and easements.

Blankswade told detectives Amber Brisebois asked her father to move off the property and he refused. He said she then asked him to move out of the big house so she could use it and into the little house and he refused to do that.

At that point, Blankswade told detectives, she decided the only way to get him out of the house was to kill him, Rivera testified.

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