Jury deliberates over Maui beating
Closing arguments offer different views on a suspect's role
WAILUKU » December was a special time for retired Navy physician Edward Bird, who traditionally sent dozens of seasons greeting cards to friends.
But instead of getting their annual cards, Bird's friends received notice that he had been killed, Maui County Deputy Prosecutor Robert Rivera said.
"That tradition ended ... when he was brutally, brutally murdered," Rivera told jurors during closing arguments in Maui Circuit Court.
The jury began deliberation yesterday on the fate of 34-year-old Michael Arlo Pavich, who faces several charges, including second-degree murder, in Bird's death.
Bird, 82, who used a wheelchair to get around, was found beaten and strangled to death in his Pacific Shores ground-floor condominium on the morning of Dec. 3, 2000.
Pavich testified he was never in Bird's apartment and that his friend Lisa Avilla and her cousin Shannon Estencion went to burglarize the unit.
But Rivera said a blood sample from a napkin found in Bird's kitchen was consistent with Pavich's DNA profile.
Rivera said in addition to Avilla saying she saw Pavich strangle Bird in the bedroom, Estencion testified that Pavich had been bitten during the struggle.
Rivera said the bite wound explains how Pavich's blood got on the napkin.
"He strangled him to death. ... Edward Bird didn't have a chance," Rivera said. "It's time for this defendant here to take responsibility."
Defense attorney Keith Shigetomi criticized the prosecution's expert DNA witness, Stephanie Beine, saying she had no genetics degree and no certification test.
Shigetomi said several defense witnesses made deals with the prosecution, including Avilla.
He said even Rivera noted in his opening argument that in the case of Avilla, the prosecution has to "make a deal with the devil."
Shigetomi said Avilla has admitted lying to the police and lying to her probation officer and was lying about Pavich. "She knows this is the way you get out of trouble," Shigetomi said.
Rivera said a bag dropped by Pavich when he eluded police contained crystal methamphetamine pipes.
Pulling out items from the bag, Rivera displayed a number of items, including a screwdriver, knife and a pair of black leather gloves.
"He's going around in Kihei, of all places, with these things," Rivera said.
Rivera said Beine has been qualified as an expert witness in other states, as well as Hawaii.
Jurors were scheduled to resume deliberation today.