Teen murder suspect also faces sex assault charge
Allegations that a 15-year-old boy accused of murdering 51-year-old Karen Ertell may also have raped her are "almost unbearable," her foster daughter said today.
"I keep telling people this kid needs to be tried as an adult more than ever now, " said Malanie McLellan. "Too much public safety is riding on this decision."
The teenage boy, who was Ertell's neighbor, was arrested Monday on suspicion of first-degree murder, first-degree sexual assault, unauthorized possession of confidential personal information, theft of credit cards and fraudulent use of credit cards.
He was already being held at the Alder Street detention home on suspicion of second-degree murder.
McLellan said the alleged sexual assault charge is "just horrendous. Just when you think it can't get any worse -- I didn't sleep well last night because of it."
Ertell's family and friends are urging Family Court to allow the boy to be tried as an adult and the new arrest reinforces their argument that "he's a danger to society," McLellan said.
"If he's tried as an juvenile, when he's 19 his slate will be wiped clean and no one will know."
If he were tried as an adult and convicted of first-degree murder, he would face life without the possibility of parole. Second-degree murder carries life in prison with the possibility of parole.
A Family Court hearing to determine whether the boy should be tried as an adult was postponed.
Ertell's body was found in her Ewa Beach home on May 25.
Police said they identified the additional offenses after further investigation and laboratory results.
Kevin Callahan, the boyfriend of Ertell, owner of Koko Crater Coffee Roasters, said, "Anybody who rapes and murders somebody for any reason, they're an adult, I don't care how old they are. They should be tried as an adult.
"Most importantly for Hawaii, this person is far too dangerous to be on the streets again. He really should be tried as an adult and put away. He's extremely dangerous --
"I don't think anybody can imagine the absolute horror and terror Karen must have gone through. This is not like an impulsive shooting ...This is a very up close and personal way to kill somebody, just the most heinous thing any of us could imagine," Callahan said.
McLellan said it's "a relief" that the murder charge was bumped from second to first degree.
She said Ertell was looking forward to being a grandmother but on June 3, the day she had planned a baby shower, they were scattering her ashes.
"When my child (now 6 weeks old) is 20 years old, I have to explain why he has no grandmother, that his grandmother was raped and murdered. It's just disgusting ...
"His life is going to be touched by this and he doesn't even know it yet. All our lives are going to have a hole in our heart because of this."
McLellan said she also lives in fear for the safety of her family if the boy is tried as a juvenile and freed at age 19. "He killed my mother because she was going to court against him."
The boy was under investigation for allegedly burglarizing Ertell's home.
The Prosecutor's Office would not comment on the case, citing confidentiality laws protecting minors.