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Family suspects alleged stabber was using drugs


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POSTED: Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Family and friends say Benjamin Davis is a decent, hard-working young man who helped tutor neighborhood youth and steered them from drugs.

; But late last week, 19-year-old Davis suddenly began acting paranoid and saying “;crazy”; things, his family said. They believe a neighborhood drug dealer influenced Davis and was giving him crystal methamphetamine, or “;ice.”;

Davis, a security guard, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree attempted murder for allegedly stabbing two men Sunday on a Hawaii Kai hiking trail but had not been charged yesterday.

The 2007 graduate of McKinley High School, where he played varsity football as a wide receiver, attended a year at Long Beach Community College before returning home at his mother's request, family said.

The arrest has astounded his friends and family.

“;He's not like that,”; said his cousin Kelly Tuifagu, 21. “;I know he's doing drugs. That's not him.”;

Tuifagu said that on Thursday, Davis began saying “;the government was out to get him, just talking schizophrenic.”;

She quoted Davis as saying, “;I got to throw my phone away”; because the government was listening.

Davis' mother, Amata Henry, 46, had been worried that her only child had begun hanging out with a bad element, and begged him to come home. They live in a state housing project, Kaahumanu Homes.

She suspected something was wrong when she returned his call Saturday night, and he asked whether he could wear her jacket when his own was hanging near his bed. He also told her to stay inside the apartment and lock the door.

Sunday morning, she washed his jacket, prepared food for him and waited for him to come home.

But “;I never know anything”; until “;I saw my son's picture on TV,”; said Henry, sobbing uncontrollably. “;I was in shock. My heart dropped.

“;I feel sorry about those people (stabbing victims), those families. Whatever my son did because (of) his mind,”; she said.

The family wants to apologize for what Davis did, but said everything was so uncharacteristic of him, including the crazed look he had and being found naked in a tree.

“;Ben is not this person,”; Henry said. “;He is soft-hearted, he is kind.”;

Girlfriend Nani Tuiolemotu, 18, said, “;He's a good guy. He's very humble. He works two jobs to help his mom.”;

But a couple of weeks ago, some neighborhood youths beat him up, she said. “;He told me, 'I think I'm being set up.'”;

Davis had never gotten into trouble since elementary school, when he was caught for shoplifting toys but straightened out before getting into middle school, the family said.

“;He was always into writing his music,”; said Gary Kauwe, 31, who lives upstairs from Davis and considered him his mentor. “;He had a great life that lay ahead of him. I don't know what led him to do this. I don't understand.”;

Star-Bulletin reporter Laurie Au contributed to this report.