Kauai killer threatened them, say 2 teen boys
A man guilty in a 1984 slaying allegedly stops them on a beach path
KILAUEA, Kauai » Two teenage boys who took a shortcut to Kauai's Secret Beach last week through private property say they will never walk that way again.
That is because the property manager, Michael John Ebinger, allegedly threatened the two with a machete and poked them in the chest with a pellet gun, according to witnesses at Ebinger's preliminary hearing yesterday.
Ebinger, who has been charged with three counts of terroristic threatening, is no stranger to trouble at Kauapea, or Secret Beach. He was convicted of manslaughter for shooting and chopping up the body of a 22-year-old man from Vermont at Secret Beach in 1984.
On Sunday the two Kilauea boys, ages 14 and 15, went through the property on Kauapea Road down to the beach to bodysurf, they testified. But, soon after hitting the beach, they were accosted by Ebinger, who, they said, held up a machete in his right hand and a black and silver pistol in his left.
The pistol turned out to be a BB gun, but the boys testified that he used it to poke the 14-year-old, Darien Stark, in the chest and held the gun to 15-year-old Payton Hough's neck.
"He said if I went down the trail we took, he would kill me and my friend," Hough testified.
The two said Ebinger cursed them and said he would kill them if they ever used the private beach access again.
"I said (to Ebinger that) we'll never go down there again, that we were sorry," Stark testified.
Two Maui residents who were on vacation at the time also testified they saw the two boys accosted, and convinced them to call the police. Douglas Walker said that he was glad to be there to intervene.
"I was worried that if we weren't there, it might have gone further," he added.
Ebinger told police that he thought the two boys were stealing stuff from the vacation rental property he takes care of.
But Kauai police Detective Glen Morita testified that Ebinger told him that he never pulled the gun on the boys and just had it on his person to kill chickens in the yard.
Members of the Kilauea community were visibly angry outside court that Ebinger was allowed to return to where he dismembered Stuart Munson of Vermont with a machete after shooting him in the head in 1983. Ebinger was convicted of manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment.
Despite reports that Ebinger was told to never return to the area, Kauai deputy prosecutor Jennifer Winn said Ebinger had finished his parole and was not legally bound from returning to Secret Beach.
The judge found there was probable cause to sustain the three new felony charges, and Ebinger will be arraigned and given a trial date on Oct. 17.
He is being held in lieu of $20,000 bail.