arrested in killing
Police say that the suspects
slew the victim over marijuana
Police arrested two people for allegedly murdering a Kapahulu woman over an ounce of marijuana and then discarding her body outside an Ewa goat farm last week.
Patricia Lynn Malabey, 49, and her brother, Ronald J. Howe, 48, were arrested in the death of 46-year-old Robyn Mae Nakaji. Farmers found Nakaji's body wrapped in blankets and a tarp last Friday along a dirt road leading to the farm at 91-2161 Old Fort Weaver Road.
According to a police affidavit, Nakaji was known to go to the suspects' apartment at 747 Kapahulu Ave. every morning to do drugs. The affidavit also stated that according to Nakaji's niece, she, the victim, Malabey and Howe were friends and that several days prior to Nakaji's murder, both Howe and Malabey had accused Nakaji of stealing an ounce of marijuana from them and that they threatened to "bind Robyn with tape and pistol whip her."
Police said the niece also noticed a spool of duct tape in the suspects' apartment before Nakaji's murder and that the same kind of bright yellow duct tape was used to bind Nakaji's body. When police recovered Nakaji's body, they also recovered a used spool of yellow duct tape along with bills and other documents bearing Malabey's name.
Police also found a piece of notebook paper on Nakaji's body when it was recovered; it had the words "Finders Keepers" written on it. The affidavit said Nakaji had told both suspects she had not stolen their marijuana but that if she happened to find it, then "finders keepers."
Police searched the suspects' home and found evidence of blood on the apartment floor. Shortly afterward, police arrested Malabey on suspicion of second-degree murder Wednesday and then found and arrested her brother in Waipahu late yesterday afternoon.
An autopsy revealed that Nakaji's throat had been cut and her trachea and carotid artery had been severed. Nakaji also suffered numerous blows to her skull. Police did not say whether the blows were from being "pistol whipped," as the suspects had allegedly threatened, but only that she suffered blunt trauma to her head.
The affidavit said a farm worker discovered Nakaji after he began to open the bundle and saw her feet bound with tape sticking out from one end. That same morning, Nakaji's husband, Daryl, reported his wife missing and told police he had not seen her since noon a day earlier. Nakaji had last been seen walking along Kapahulu Avenue near Taco Bell, which is less than a block from the suspects' apartment building.
The affidavit said Daryl Nakaji went looking for his wife at the suspects' apartment and was told by Howe he did not know where she was.
According to state records, Howe has an extensive criminal history dating back 20 years, with 40 arrests and 22 convictions, including forgery, burglary, theft, robbery, auto theft and firearms offenses. Malabey has convictions of petty misdemeanors and misdemeanors of harassment, disorderly conduct and driving under the influence of an intoxicating liquor.
Robyn Mae Nakaji has no convictions, but did have five arrests in 1999 for drugs, theft and contempt of court. Police sources said it was about that time that she started doing drugs frequently.
Nakaji and her husband delivered newspapers in Kapahulu for an independent contractor.
"She was really nice. She was very pleasant, never confrontational," said contractor Andy Ikeda. "They were very dependable. They always finished their route on time."
Ikeda said he was shocked to see Nakaji's picture on television Monday after police identified her as the body that was found last week.
"It blew me away when I heard about it," said Ikeda. "When I saw her picture on TV, I got chicken skin."