Suspect in murder was 'a good kid'


POSTED: Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Relatives of a teenager accused of fatally stabbing a woman over the weekend in her McCully apartment said they did not recognize him as he stood in shackles in Honolulu District Court.

Sato Franklin “;Frank”; Sigrah, 19, appeared in court yesterday on charges of second-degree murder, two counts of second-degree attempted murder and first-degree burglary. Judge Philip Doi kept his bail at $500,000 and scheduled a preliminary hearing for tomorrow afternoon.

His family, taking up two rows in the small courtroom, cried when they saw Sigrah, who barely glanced at them.

“;It didn't look right to me, my little brother all cuffed up, with the (guards) holding him like he was the most dangerous guy in the world,”; said his eldest brother, who wished to have his name unpublished for fear of retaliation. “;He was always a good kid, but it was hard to get to his head.”;

Early Saturday morning, residents heard someone jiggle the handles of the front doors of their apartment complex at 2222 Kapiolani Blvd.

On the third floor, Keith Mesebeluu, 26, woke up in the living room to the screams of his wife, Lyola, and allegedly found Sigrah stabbing her, police said.

According to an autopsy report yesterday by the Honolulu medical examiner, the 27-year-old mother died of multiple stab wounds to her chest. Her husband fought him off but was also injured from what police believe to be a large kitchen knife. Their 2-year-old daughter, Kia, sustained a cut on her arm.

Regina Mesebeluu, Keith's mother, described her daughter-in-law, a Bank of Hawaii employee, as respectful and good-hearted, and a great mother who would do anything to protect her child.

Sigrah's relatives and close friends said they know him as a nonviolent person never involved in any serious trouble and who had a clean record until now.

Sigrah was the third of eight children. He grew up in his North Judd Street home in Nuuanu and went to McKinley High School. He dropped out, his eldest brother said, and opted to go to the Hawaii National Guard Youth Challenge Academy, a program to give “;at risk”; teens a second chance to get their high school diploma. The program did not return messages yesterday.

“;I guess his friends were keeping him out of (high) school, so he volunteered himself to go to Youth Challenge to do better,”; his brother said. “;He was supposed to go into the National Guard, but as soon as he got out, he went back to the same old thing.”;

Sigrah was living with his girlfriend in the McCully area, his family said. Sigrah has a baby girl of his own who is turning 1 next week.

Family and friends say they believe Sigrah did not know the Mesebeluu family, and do not know what would trigger him to stab anyone.

“;What we want to do right now is apologize to the family,”; Sigrah's brother said.