Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Police investigating
beating death on Maui

A neighbor reportedly witnessed
the attack, but the police have
no suspect in custody

HAIKU, Maui >> A Maui man who was a private process server for Maui Circuit Court died yesterday after a beating in the carport of his rural Haiku home.

Seward Smythe Jr. had been remodeling a separate house owned by his family at Akahai Place near the Haiku Community Center, said neighbor Al Werner.

Maui Police Lt. Glenn Cuomo said detectives are investigating the death as a homicide.

Cuomo, who declined to comment on the cause of death, said police received a call at 10:23 a.m. yesterday about a fight at the Akahai Place residence.

Cuomo said when police arrived, they found the body of a middle-age man lying in the carport area.

A neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said sometime after 9:30 a.m., a woman heard Smythe moaning and calling for help and ran to his home. The woman said she saw a man standing over Smythe and hitting him as he was lying on his driveway, the neighbor said.

"When she went there, he was on top of him and hitting him," the neighbor said. "It happened so quick. Why someone would want to hurt him I don't know."

The woman ran for help and called police. Later she saw the man who had beaten Smythe walking along Akahai Place toward Hana Highway, the neighbor said.

The neighbor said Smythe was a nice person and had gone through a number of family difficulties, including the death of his father and a sick mother.

"His mother is in a coma," the neighbor said. "He was a very good neighbor. I felt so bad."

Cuomo, who declined to identify Smythe yesterday, said police did not have a suspect in custody.

Lt. Patrick Sniffen, commander of the Sheriff's Division at Maui Circuit Court, said like his father, Smythe began working as a process server and served civil documents, including writs, summons, subpoenas and temporary restraining orders.

Sniffen said Smythe had recently married.


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