Slaying suspect to stand trial
It was a busy day in court yesterday for R.J. Ham, accused in the stabbing death of a man outside a Kalihi market the night after Christmas.
In the morning, Ham, 23, was in state Circuit Court for his failure to attend a hearing last fall on his probation sentence for three 2006 assaults.
In the afternoon he was in District Court, where Judge Russel Nagata ordered him to stand trial for second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Fusitogamala Savea, 18.
His arraignment was set for Jan. 22. Ham remains in custody in lieu of $1 million bail.
At the second hearing, Savea's cousin Teu Malivao, 14, identified Ham as the person who stabbed his cousin as they were hanging out at the Sunny Mart on School Street just after midnight on Dec. 26.
Malivao said he, his younger brother, Savea and a friend from Waipahu had just helped a man who appeared to be drunk sit down next to them when Ham arrived at the market near Kuhio Park Terrace. He said Ham shook hands with him, his brother and Savea.
"Why you shake my hand so hard?" he recalls Savea asking.
When Ham responded that he was watching his uncle, Savea turned to look at the man who was sitting next to them and then turned back toward Ham, Malivao said.
That's when Ham stabbed Savea in the chest, he said. Malivao held his hands about 18 inches apart to indicate the size of the kitchen knife Ham used.
He said his cousin chased after Ham, then collapsed.
First Deputy Medical Examiner William Goodhue said a single stab punctured Savea's heart, diaphragm and liver. He said Savea would have bled to death even if he had not chased after his assailant.
Goodhue said Savea also had defensive wounds on his left hand.
At the time of the stabbing, there was already a warrant out for Ham's arrest.
According to state court records, a judge issued the warrant and ordered Ham to immediately begin serving a 30-day prison term Dec. 15 for failing to attend a probation hearing two months earlier. Ham had already served 60 days in prison as part of his five-year probation sentence for three 2006 assault convictions.
Deputy Prosecutor Franklin Pacarro told Circuit Judge Michael Town yesterday the state will seek to revoke Ham's probation.