Man faces life for strangulation
A Maui jury finds Michael Arlo Pavich guilty of murdering a retired Navy physician
WAILUKU » A 34-year-old Maui man was found guilty of second-degree murder yesterday in the strangulation death of retired Navy physician Edward Bird.
A Maui Circuit Court jury also found Michael Arlo Pavich guilty of first-degree burglary, kidnapping and first-degree robbery.
Pavich's sentencing was scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Dec. 13 before Judge Joseph Cardoza.
His bail was increased to $1 million from $245,000.
Under Hawaii law, Pavich could face life in prison without parole for killing a person 65 years or older.
Bird, 82, who could barely walk and used a wheelchair to get around, was choked to death in his bedroom at Pacific Shores in South Maui during a burglary.
His body was found in his home on the morning of Dec. 3, 2000.
Bird has been described as generous, and children frequently visited his home.
One of the children was the son of Lisa Avilla, who was then a crystal methamphetamine addict. Avilla testified that she, along with her boyfriend Pavich, broke into Bird's home, and in an ensuing struggle, Pavich struck Bird with a lamp and strangled him.
Avilla said she was told by Pavich to participate in the assault by hitting Bird with a blender cup so that she would be a part of the crime.
During the trial, Pavich denied that he had ever been in Bird's home, and accused Avilla and her cousin Shannon Estencion of the burglary.
But the prosecution noted that blood on a napkin in the kitchen that was found by police was consistent with Pavich's DNA profile.
Estencion also testified that according to Pavich, he had been bitten on the finger by Bird during the struggle.
Deputy Prosecutor Robert Rivera noted that the bite wound explained the presence of Pavich's blood on the napkin.
Bird had filed a complaint with police against Avilla and another woman for theft of items in his home.
Avilla admitted she led Pavich to Bird's home to commit the burglary.
Avilla testified on behalf of the prosecution in exchange for a reduced charge of manslaughter, instead of second-degree murder.
She faces 20 years in prison.