Slaying suspect had given victim gifts


POSTED: Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A 54-year-old woman received unsolicited gifts and was the target of sexual advances from a man who lived in her apartment building before he allegedly shot her, according to her close friend Dorothy Wheeler.

;[Preview]    Suspected Murderer Was Victim's Friend

Murder victim, Clare Silva knew her accused murderer and considered him a friend.



Clare B. Silva, president of the Punchbowl Homes Residents Association, had taken 70-year-old Mel Yoshida under her wing about a year and a half ago, after the death of his wife, Wheeler said.

“;She was a very loving individual,”; Wheeler said.

But Yoshida apparently misinterpreted the relationship.

Yoshida is being held by police for allegedly shooting Silva Sunday morning after he knocked at the door of her apartment and argued with her, police said.

Yoshida made sexual advances to Silva on Friday morning in her apartment, and she told him to leave, Wheeler said.

Silva told Wheeler about the incident Friday night.

“;She said, 'Mel tried to attack me,'”; Wheeler recalled.

Yoshida had given various gifts to Silva, including a dress.

On a prior occasion, Yoshida had shouted four- letter words at Silva when she rebuffed his advances, Wheeler said.

Wheeler said she was under the impression that Silva did not call the police to file charges.

“;We didn't know he had a gun,”; she said.

Wheeler said Silva was a kind and loving person.

Yoshida was starving for affection after the death of his wife, also named Claire, Wheeler said.

Other residents have described Yoshida as a “;troubled man”; and a “;stalker.”;

Yoshida and Silva lived in apartments at the seven-story Punchbowl Homes, a low-income public housing facility for senior citizens and the disabled.

Silva suffered from psoriasis tied to emotional stress and had suffered several heart attacks, Wheeler said.

Silva, daughter of the late Clarence and Marge Silva of Kauai, moved with her mother to California after a divorce and graduated in 1974 from Irvington High School in Fremont, Calif.

“;She was always thinking of somebody else instead of herself,”; recalled Laura Khan, a classmate who knew Silva since the seventh grade. “;She was a very kind and loyal friend.”;

Silva's daughter, Tyffny Riordan, who lives in Mississippi, was scheduled to arrive in Honolulu today.