Thursday, January 20, 2005

Richard Shannon Costa, left, was arraigned in Kauai District Court yesterday on a charge of second-degree murder in the Jan. 12 stabbing death of Weslyn Jerves. Costa's attorney, Mike Soong, entered an innocent plea on his behalf.

Woman slain
for $20, man

An autopsy shows the Kauai
victim was stabbed to death

LIHUE » A preliminary hearing is scheduled tomorrow for Richard Shannon Costa, 36 who has confessed he fatally stabbed Weslyn Jerves, 18, in a dispute over $20.

An innocent plea was entered on Costa's behalf yesterday in Kauai District Court. He is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail on a charge of second-degree murder.

In a confession filed with the court by the Kauai Prosecuting Attorney's Office, Costa admitted killing Jerves in a graveyard near Port Allen.

Her body was found by tourists.

Costa, a cook who lived in Kalaheo, told police he had known Jerves, whose address was in Hanamaulu, for about a month and a half.

He told police he gave her a ride from Hanamaulu County Beach Park to a convenience store in Hanamaulu on the night of Jan. 12.

Shortly before midnight, he said, he spotted her walking down Hanamaulu Road, and she flagged him down and said she wanted to go cruising with him.

Costa said Jerves fell asleep and that he drove her to the cemetery at what is known as Glass Beach near Port Allen, arriving there at 2 a.m.

When Jerves awoke, Costa said, he asked her to repay him $20 he had loaned her a week before. She refused, and he told her she would have to find another way home.

"You know what? I going leave you here, and you find your own way home," Costa said he told Jerves.

When Jerves refused to get out of his vehicle, Costa said he got out, opened the passenger door and tried to pull her out. Police records show Jerves weighed either 150 or 170 pounds (the weight varies in police documents); Costa, 175 pounds.

As he was trying to pull her out of the truck, Costa said, Jerves pulled a knife on him and said she was going to kill him.

Costa said he grabbed the knife and stabbed Jerves twice in the back. He said she continued to fight him and that he placed her in a headlock. When she moved, the knife cut her throat, he said.

Costa said he then went home, washed the blood off his hands and went to sleep. The next day, he washed the blood off his vehicle.

An autopsy showed Jerves died of multiple stab wounds to the neck, chest, back abdomen and left arm.

Costa was arrested Sunday. The documents filed in court did not indicate how police determined he was a suspect.

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