Victim describes stabbing attack

Kahului man charged with attempted murder

Attempted-murder suspect Tisse Henriksen leaves Wailuku District Court after his preliminary hearing Monday afternoon. The Maui News / LILA FUJIMOTO photo

WAILUKU — A homeless man said he was trying to protect a relative when he was stabbed four times during a scuffle with another man on the porch of a former real estate office in Kahului early New Year’s Day.

“I felt something warm on my face,” Kalani Wright said. “My arm was super sore.

“I wen’ drop plenty blood. I was fading out.”

During a preliminary hearing Monday afternoon in Wailuku District Court, Wright identified his attacker as defendant Tisse Henriksen, who was arrested two days after the attack.

Citing “the number of stab wounds inflicted by the defendant upon the victim,” Judge Blaine Kobayashi ruled there was sufficient evidence to support a charge of attempted second-degree murder against Henriksen, 53, of Kahului.

A slash across Kalani Wright’s face is shown in a police photo taken Jan. 1 at Maui Memorial Medical Center. The Maui News / LILA FUJIMOTO photo

He is being held in lieu of $200,000 bail at the Maui Community Correctional Center.

Wright, 30, who moved to Maui from Oahu a year and a half ago, said he and his girlfriend were on the beach watching fireworks New Year’s Eve before they went to see his cousin at the old Century 21 building at Kaahumanu and Puunene avenues.

Wright said he and his girlfriend were hanging out on the porch with his cousin at about 12:10 a.m. New Year’s Day when Henriksen walked up the steps.

Wright said his “uncle,” who is the boyfriend of his cousin’s mother, told Henriksen to leave. Henriksen hit the uncle, Wright said.

“Naturally, I going protect my uncle,” he said. “I wen’ drop everything. I went over there. I wen’ hit him.”

Wright said he punched Henriksen once before he turned and got into a scuffle with Wright.

“We was swinging at each other,” Wright said, before he noticed the warm feeling as he began bleeding.

“I thought just my nose was broken,” Wright said. “I nevah see him with a knife.”

“But he cut you?” Deputy Prosecutor Emlyn Higa asked.

“Gotta be,” Wright replied. “Look at this.”

Wright’s injuries included a cut across his face through his nose cartilage, said Detective Dennis Lee, who spoke with the doctor who treated Wright.

Dr. Mitchell Tasaki described using two running sutures to close the wound because of its length, Lee said. “If he was doing individual sutures, it would have been at least 60 stitches,” Lee said.

He said Tasaki described other injuries, including a cut on Wright’s upper left arm that was so deep it severed a muscle. That injury had to be sutured, Lee said.

The doctor also said a stab wound to Wright’s upper left abdomen was stopped by hitting his rib cage,” Lee said. “If he was stabbed anyplace else other than that area, it would have severed his aorta or one of the vital organs,” Lee said.

He said Tasaki also treated a stab wound under Wright’s left armpit that was at an upper angle toward his clavicle.

“All the wounds were very deep, and there was a lot of force used inflicting those wounds,” Lee said.

Asked by Deputy Public Defender Danielle Sears if the doctor reported that none of the injuries were life threatening, Lee said yes.

The detective said he hadn’t been able to locate the man that Wright described as his uncle.

Sears said the attempted-murder charge wasn’t appropriate. “There is clear evidence there’s self-defense issues here,” she said.

Higa said Wright had interceded to help his uncle when “the defendant used deadly force against Kalani Wright.”

“The number and location and the force with which the stab wounds were inflicted on Kalani Wright indicate an intent to kill,” Higa said.

Henriksen is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 17 in 2nd Circuit Court.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at