Friday, October 5, 2001

Lawyer for alleged
killer seeks mental test

By Debra Barayuga

The attorney for a man accused of stabbing his wife to death Saturday at their Kalihi home has asked that his client undergo a mental examination.

Dale Bennett, attorney for Florencio Garperio, 52, said he wanted to rule out any possible mental illness in order to prepare a defense.

Garperio, a cook, had lost his job a week and a half earlier and has never been in trouble with the law since he came to the United States seven years ago, Bennett said.

"He's led a rather peaceful life with no criminal activity," Bennett said.

District Judge Tenney Tongg found yesterday there was probable cause to charge Garperio with second-degree murder, and sent the case to Circuit Court. Garperio's arraignment was set for Oct. 18. He is being held on $75,000 bail.

Garperio's wife, Mercy, who worked at Foodland in Ala Moana, died of massive blood loss from stab wounds to the chest, including the left lung, according to first deputy medical examiner William Goodhue.

Garperio's 16-year-old son testified yesterday that he heard screams coming from his room sometime after 1 p.m. Saturday and went to investigate.

After his 6-year-old sister opened the locked door, he ran inside and saw his father raising a knife over his mother, who lay on the bed.

The boy said he struck his father's arm and locked him in a bear hug in an attempt to restrain him from stabbing his mother further. His mother was bleeding badly from a cut in her left shoulder, he said.

His father left and was later arrested by police when he returned home.

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