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'I don't have the guts'


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POSTED: Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Accused murderer Melvin Yoshida told a police officer he had intended to shoot himself after the slaying but did not have the “;guts,”; according to documents filed in Honolulu District Court.

Police charged Yoshida yesterday with second-degree murder and the use of a firearm in commission of a felony.

Yoshida, 70, who was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail, was scheduled to make an initial appearance this morning in District Court.

A police officer who arrived at the scene Sunday said Yoshida admitted he shot a woman and said, “;I was going to kill her, then myself, but I don't have the guts to shoot myself,”; according to an affidavit.

Yoshida's white shoes and left leg were splattered with what appeared to be blood, said the officer, Thomas Dumaoal, who arrived at the lobby of Punchbowl Homes at 11:02 a.m. Sunday.

Yoshida asked the officer to “;hurry,”; showing him to Clare Silva's first-floor apartment and adding that he got into an argument with his “;girlfriend”; and shot her, the affidavit said.

Yoshida, who lived in the same Captain Cook Avenue complex as Silva, had given unsolicited gifts such as a dress to Silva and made unsolicited sexual advances to her, friends said, but Silva had rejected Yoshida's advances.

Silva, 54, president of the Punchbowl Homes Residents Association, was fatally shot in the entrance of her apartment at the low-income public housing project for senior citizens and the disabled.

A female telephone caller from the mainland informed Honolulu police she was talking to Silva Sunday morning when someone began banging at her door, according to Dumaoal's affidavit. The caller said Silva put down the telephone; then there were gunshots in the background, and she heard Silva scream for help.

When Dumaoal arrived at the apartment, the responding officer said, he saw Silva lying on the ground on her back and that blood covered her abdominal area as well as the floor around her. The police officer said he arrested Yoshida for attempted murder and was later informed that a physician had pronounced Silva dead.

Silva's daughter, Tyffny Riordan, is awaiting the arrival of her husband from active Navy duty in Afghanistan before traveling with their four children from Mississippi to Hawaii. Riordan works as a Navy corpsman based in Biloxi, Miss.

“;They'll be flying out together,”; said Greg Purves, Riordan's father and Silva's former husband.

Purves, who lives in Georgia, said he was married to Silva for 16 years and had an amicable relationship with her, each contacting the other on special occasions, such as birthdays and Christmas.

“;Anybody that came across her would be enriched by her personality,”; he said. “;Unfortunately, her open heart ... ended in her demise.”;