Bail pulled for stabbing suspect

WAILUKU – A Kahului man is being held without bail after appearing in court Thursday on charges of fatally stabbing his estranged wife and injuring two men who intervened to try to stop him in the Foodland Kehalani store.

The prosecution requested the no-bail status during an initial court appearance for Stephen B. Schmidt, 45.

In addition to first-degree murder of 24-year-old Kehau Farias Schmidt, he is charged with attempted first-degree murder of the two men who were stabbed in the chest when they tried to stop Schmidt. He is also charged with two counts of attempted second-degree murder and first-degree terroristic threatening.

The stabbings occurred after Schmidt went into the Wailuku store at about 6:10 p.m. Tuesday, looking for his estranged wife and her boyfriend, according to a declaration filed in court to support Schmidt’s arrest on the charges. Schmidt confronted Farias Schmidt and her boyfriend and cut her throat with a knife, the declaration says.

A Foodland employee reported that Schmidt told his estranged wife he was going to stab her before he stabbed her one to three times in the chest. The employee saw Farias Schmidt holding her chest as blood gushed out, according to the declaration.

Afterward, the employee saw Haiku resident James Reeves, 34, who had been shopping in the store, chase Schmidt. He ran outside, where the two men got into a physical confrontation, the declaration says. The two men went back into the store and continued to fight. The employee reported seeing Reeves grab his chest and say, “He stabbed me.”

Farias Schmidt, Reeves and a 53-year-old Wailuku man were transported by ambulance to Maui Memorial Medical Center, where she died of her injuries, police said. The two men, who required surgery, were reported to be in stable condition.

Schmidt fled from the store before police arrived. He was arrested shortly afterward when he crashed his car at his residence at 400 Molokai Hema St.

Police impounded Schmidt’s car after a police officer saw a folding knife on the passenger seat and what appeared to be blood on the steering wheel, according to the declaration.

In court Thursday, Schmidt appeared to wink toward a video camera as Judge Kelsey Kawano discussed a request from the media to record and photograph the court proceedings.

Schmidt had no response to the judge’s questions, including whether Schmidt objected to the Office of the Public Defender’s request to withdraw from representing the defendant because of a conflict of interest.

Police had set Schmidt’s bail at $3 million.

Deputy Prosecutor Byron Fujieda asked that Schmidt be held without bail, noting that a conviction for first-degree murder carries a penalty of life in prison without parole.

Schmidt was charged with first-degree murder because Farias Schmidt had obtained a court order for protection, which was active when she was killed, that prohibited Schmidt from having contact with her.

“She took steps to protect herself from this man,” Fujieda said.

He said Farias Schmidt had moved out of the residence she had shared with Schmidt and had obtained a temporary restraining order against him. A judge granted the protective order April 13, requiring Schmidt to have no contact with his estranged wife.

He violated the order by stalking her, Fujieda said. “And then on April 19, there’s a brutal and violent attack upon her and others,” he said.

“It’s clear he does not follow court orders, and he is a definite flight risk,” Fujieda said. “He presents a clear danger to the community.”

Kawano granted the prosecution’s request, ordering that Schmidt be held without bail pending a preliminary hearing Monday afternoon.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.