Suspect's 'weird' behavior detailed


POSTED: Monday, March 02, 2009

Family members of the man accused of stabbing to death a popular Waianae High School educator on Friday described him as “;weird”; but said they do not think he is violent.

Tittleman Fauatea, 25, was charged yesterday with second-degree murder in connection with the stabbing of Asa Yamashita, a 43-year-old mother of two from Ewa.

“;I don't think he did 'em,”; said his niece Linga, who only gave her first name. “;He usually keep to himself. He one mellow guy, just like my dad.”;

She added, “;I know he not going do that for no reason. There probably was a reason why he went knife her.”;

According to a police affidavit released yesterday, on Friday before the stabbing, Fauatea went into Longs Drugs at Ewa Town Center and purchased a foot-long kitchen knife.

He handed a wad of money to the cashier and walked off without the change.

Then he went toward the Ewa Seed Co., unwrapping the knife, police said.

Yamashita was sitting on a bench eating a bowl of noodles when Fauatea knocked the noodles out of her hand and started stabbing her at about 1:45 p.m., police said.

Yamashita stumbled into the Lovely Nails II salon for help, and Fauatea walked away from the shopping center with the knife.

Police said there appeared to be no relation between the two, and witnesses said the stabbing was “;totally unprovoked.”;

At 1:51 p.m. a police officer saw Fauatea kneeling in the right shoulder of Fort Weaver Road, makai of Geiger Road.

The officer reported that as he pulled up, Fauatea raised his hands and placed them on the back of his head. Fauatea complied with orders and lay down. He was arrested without incident at 1:51 p.m.

Police found the knife believed to be used in the stabbing in the bushes on Geiger Road.

Yamashita was taken to a hospital, where she died at 2:23 p.m.

Fauatea remained in custody yesterday in lieu of $500,000 bail.

Linga said she knew her uncle only as “;T-man”; and that he used to baby-sit her and her older sister when she was under 10. He cooked and “;did everything for us.”;

She said he was weird because he would not talk with some family members or would ask non sequitur questions. But she could not believe that he would kill someone.

“;I know he not that psycho,”; she said. “;Everybody that meets him thinks that he's psycho.”;

The last time she saw him was about two weeks ago when he showed up unexpectedly—as he often did—at her apartment in Waipahu.

He said he was going to go shopping at Longs. She recalled his conversation: “;Oh, that's your baby. Oh, he cute, eh. So what time you going?”;

“;And I was like, 'What you talkin' about?'”; she said. “;'Cause sometimes you don't know what he's talking about. You got to refresh his memory every couple minutes.”;

Linga said he would tell her about his many girlfriends and would ask questions as if in the middle of a conversation.

“;He would just talk to you for no reason,”; she said.

Family members also said Fauatea told them he spent time in Hawaii State Hospital in Kaneohe for people with mental illnesses.

Fauatea gave an Ewa Beach address not far from the stabbing location, but a family there said they did not know him well.

Other family members said that he had lived with his adopted mother in Las Vegas recently and returned to Oahu after his father died. He was living with his uncle in Wahiawa and would catch the bus to Waipahu, they said.

“;When his dad passed away, that's when everything went downhill,”; Linga said without explanation. “;Deep down, I know he didn't do 'em.”;