Puna man shot
pal because ‘I’d
given my word’
In court, Kyle Hill admits
the shooting was "all up to me"
By Peter Serafin
Special to the Star-Bulletin
HILO >> Kyle Zengy Hill testified he and John McGovern were fulfilling a deadly promise to each other when they killed two acquaintances in May 2002.
Hill, 20, testified for a second day in the murder trial of 19-year-old McGovern.
Hill pleaded guilty to two second-degree murder charges and weapons charges in the shootings of Wesley Matheson and Cassidy Toole, both 20, in rural Puna on May 6, 2002. His testimony against McGovern is part of plea deal that would give Hill life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.
In cross-examination by defense attorney Keith Shigetomi, Hill said yesterday that he and McGovern planned to steal drugs from the victims and decided to kill them because Matheson and Toole might "come after us."
Hill said the decision to kill the victims was "kind of mutual."
Shigetomi asked him when he knew he would go through with the plot.
"I was certain when I'd given my word that I would shoot Wesley first," he said. "Then he (McGovern) gave me his word he'd do it if I did."
"So it was all up to you?" asked Shigetomi.
"Yes, it was all up to me, but it wasn't my idea," said Hill. "I wish I could take back my word."
"Word or action?" asked Shigetomi.
"I gave John my word. That's when I picked up the gun and shot Wesley," Hill responded, his voice quavering slightly.
Hill previously admitted he shot Matheson in the back of the head outside the house the two victims shared in the rural Fern Acres subdivision. Hill said that after he shot Matheson, he went inside and gave the gun to McGovern, who shot Toole.
"John said he saw me shoot Wes. He was nervous and upset 'cause now he had to do what he said he'd do," Hill testified.
"Did he hesitate?" asked Shigetomi.
"No," responded Hill.
According to Hill, after McGovern shot Toole in the living room, Matheson was still convulsing outside.
"John took the gun and shot Wes. He told him, 'Sorry, friend, I didn't mean to do this,'" Hill testified.
Hill said McGovern attempted to clean up the living room, threw the bloody clothes into a bathtub of water and poured in bleach.
At the same time, Hill began loading the first body into Toole's van. He said he discarded the remaining live ammunition except for four or five rounds.
"I saved a few in case we bumped into somebody when getting rid of the bodies and we had to do it again," he said.
Hill also said he kept the rifle because he feared McGovern might try to kill him.
"Once you do that to someone else," Hill said, "then he could do it to me, or I could do it to him."
McGovern is on trial in Hawaii Circuit Court on one count of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder, one count of carrying a firearm in the commission of a felony and unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle.