Tuesday, June 4, 2002

Big Island police
file murder confession

The report says John McGovern
admitted to killing 2 men early in May

By Rod Thompson and Gary T. Kubota

HILO >> Big Island murder suspect John McGovern confessed to killing two men early in May, according to a police report filed yesterday in Hilo District Court.

Police arrested McGovern, 18, of no permanent address, last week for the deaths of Wesley Alan Matheson and Cassidy Matthew Toole, both 20, of Fern Acres, south of Hilo, who disappeared early in May. A second suspect was arrested Sunday but has not been charged.

"(McGovern) did freely admit to shooting and killing the two males, while at the residence on Anthurium Street in Fern Acres, Mountain View, Hawaii," the police report says.

McGovern was arraigned yesterday in District Court, where he was charged with first-degree murder (involving the death of two or more people), two counts of second-degree murder (for each individual death), the use of a firearm in a felony, car theft and marijuana possession.

Judge Sandra Schutte set a preliminary hearing for June 28. The prosecution must present an outline of the information it has against McGovern at that time.

The unusually long period before the hearing was granted at the request of defense attorney Stanton Oshiro. Deputy Prosecutor Charlene Iboshi said police collected a lot of information which Oshiro needs time to review.

Besides McGovern's confession to the shootings, the police report says he showed the location of the bodies to "another individual," was responsible for disposing of the bodies and was seen operating a vehicle belonging to one of the victims.

The police report says McGovern attended high school in Iowa but received a general equivalency diploma rather than graduating with classmates.

Meanwhile, Glenn Gregory, a friend of Matheson, said family members of the victims deserved major credit in helping to solve the crime.

Police initially said the victims were last seen alive on May 8, but the police report puts the date of their death as May 6. The report also says Toole's Honda Civic, the one that was found in a ditch 40 miles from Fern Acres on May 8, was stolen by McGovern on May 6.

Gregory said Matheson's brother Casey went to the victims' house on May 9. He described it as an estate where Matheson and Toole served as caretakers.

Casey Matheson found "the place turned upside down, and things were missing, and he found clothes in the bathroom tub covered with bleach," Gregory said.

The families of the men believe robbery was the motive for the deaths, Gregory said. The police report is silent regarding a motive.

Family members were then relentless in trying to find them, working close to 20-hour days interviewing people who might have seen them, he said. Gregory joined and assisted them.

Through their efforts, especially those of Matheson's mother, Kate, police were able to find the bodies Thursday, he said.

The bodies were in jungle brush about 50 feet from a road, less than a mile and a half from the estate.

Matheson moved from Maui to the Big Island last October to take care of the estate. He also worked as a landscaper, painter and carpenter, Gregory said.

"He was an incredible landscaper and just Mr. Fix-it. It's such a waste," he said.

Matheson met Toole late last year, and both became great friends, living on the estate.

"They were best buddies. They went out chasing girls together. They were best friends," he said.

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