Neighbors link slaying suspect to burglary
A teenage boy held in the strangling death of an Ewa Beach woman has been identified by neighbors in photos taken from a cell phone stolen in an earlier burglary.
Police are still investigating the early-December burglary on Pupu Street, but a spokeswoman declined to comment on the pictures or whether they are being used to investigate the May killing of Karen Ertell, 51.
The four photos were shot with the stolen phone and text-messaged to several numbers, said burglary victim Clark Thompson, who also had about $400 in cash, plus video games and iPods taken from his home. Thompson asked a representative with T-Mobile to check if any photos had been taken with his phone after noticing his bill came with $50 worth of customized rings that had been downloaded.
Thompson, who lives five houses down from the suspect's family, said he is upset at how the police handled the break-in. He claims he showed the cell phone photos to an officer in March, but there was no follow-up.
"My attitude is the same as my neighbors' -- that it could have been anyone of us that he killed like that," Thompson said of the suspect.
Later, after looking at the four images, which show three teenagers with their arms raised in boxing stances, three Ewa residents picked one of them as the murder suspect.
Police arrested the teenager for allegedly killing Ertell, who owned a coffee business in Honolulu, after they found her unresponsive at about 1 p.m. May 25 at her Akua Street home.
An autopsy determined she died from strangulation.
Prosecutors want Family Court to waive its jurisdiction in the murder case so the teenager can be tried as an adult and receive a harsher sentence, police have said.
About 40 residents have signed a petition to City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle and Family Court supporting a trial in Circuit Court.
Elaine Rutkowski said she used to say "hi" to the suspect and that he would wave back while she worked in her yard or her car.
"I'd always tell this kid, 'Be good now,'" said Rutkowski, who signed the community petition. "I never knew he was the terror of Akua Street."