Suspect set for arraignment
in stabbing death on Kauai

A 40-year-old Kauai man was scheduled to be arraigned today for allegedly stabbing a 64-year-old retired physician to death, and attempting to kill his own 15-year-old stepson.

While police had not charged the suspect yesterday, Lt. Roy Asher, who heads the investigation, said: "We are confident we have the assailant in custody."

Police found Dr. Jon Kerns and the suspect's stepson with stab wounds Sunday night at Kerns' home in Waimea Valley.

Kerns was taken to Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The suspect's stepson was also taken to the hospital where he was treated and released for injuries.

Kerns' wife, Claudia, told the Garden Island newspaper that she and her husband invited the suspect and his stepson, who were homeless, to live in a rental house on their property.

Asher said the suspect, his wife and stepson lived in a rental house on the Kerns' property, but he did not know whether the suspect rented the house. The suspect faces second-degree murder and attempted murder charges at today's arraignment.

Asher said the matter is not a landlord-tenant dispute, but would not comment on the suspected motive. Kerns' wife witnessed the stabbing, Asher said.

Police have not yet questioned the 15-year-old stepson since he has special needs and is unable to talk, Asher said.

"We are exploring the possibility of communicating with him," said Asher, who said the investigation is ongoing.

He said Kerns, an internist who had practiced in California, had retired on Kauai.

"I've only heard good things about him," he said. "The community's saddened."

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