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Monday, October 30, 2000

Star-Bulletin file
Randall Sodetani trades "shaka" signs with Gov.
George Ariyoshi, who became a Special Olympics
booster when he presented the then 17-year-old
Special Olympics athlete with a $3 check.

Father suspected
in wife’s slaying,
stabbing of son

The final determination
awaits the autopsy results
and testing of evidence

By Jaymes K. Song

Police are trying to determine what prompted an 80-year-old man -- well-respected in the community, a good father and loving husband -- to violently attack his wife and mentally-challenged son early Saturday morning.

The brutal stabbing left 78-year-old Margaret Sodetani dead and seriously injured her 41-year-old son, Randall. It also left the close-knit Pacific Palisades neighborhood in disbelief.

Police believe Melvin Sodetani, a retired carpenter, attacked his family with a kitchen knife before using it to take his own life, based on evidence recovered at the scene and defensive wounds found on "Randy" Sodetani.

Star-Bulletin file
Randall Sodetani worked at Ala Moana McDonald's

"We are not considering the son a suspect" at this time, Honolulu police Lt. William Kato, head of the homicide detail, said today.

However, results from the autopsy and evidence samples taken from the home have to be examined before a final determination is made, he said.

Randall was found critically injured in the carport of his Apapa Street home. His condition has improved and he was in fair condition this morning at Queen's Medical Center.

Police found his parents lying dead in their bed in their small one-story home.

Randall, who has Down syndrome, is known in the community for his employment at the Ala Moana Center's McDonald's, where he has worked for 22 years, for his musical talent, and for his many years as a Special Olympics participant. In 1975, he won a bronze medal for aquatics at the national Special Olympics.

In 1981, the state House of Representatives passed a resolution commending Randall for his "outstanding personal achievement," according to a Star-Bulletin article.

James and Alice Urcia, who have lived next to the Sodetanis for more than 30 years, said their only concern now is for Randall's well-being. He is survived by at least one other brother.

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