WAILUKU - At a Kahului home where a man was fatally stabbed, police recovered a kitchen knife with what appeared to be blood and hair, and found red bloodlike stains on the floor, a Maui police evidence specialist said.
Testifying Tuesday in the nonjury murder trial of Rachael Berta, police evidence specialist Anthony Earles described some of the 135 photographs he took at the residence Berta shared with her boyfriend, John Shaniyo, on West Kauai Street.
Berta, 25, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the stabbing of 33-year-old Shaniyo on the afternoon of Jan. 5, 2009.
The Maui News / AMANDA COWAN photo
Defense attorney William Sloper (foreground) listens to testimony with Second Circuit Judge Joel August.
Officers went to the residence after receiving a 911 call at 2 p.m. from a woman saying she had stabbed her boyfriend. Shaniyo was taken by ambulance to Maui Memorial Medical Center, where he died that night.
Berta was arrested at Kahului Union Church about an hour and a half after the stabbing. She remains incarcerated at the Maui Community Correctional Center in lieu of $250,000 bail.
In her opening statement as the trial began Monday, Deputy Prosecutor Melinda Mendes said Berta acted in jealousy and anger when she stabbed Shaniyo, who was breaking up with Berta and returning to his former girlfriend.
After being stabbed, Shaniyo lost blood rapidly but was strong enough to go to the kitchen, where he collapsed, Mendes said. He crawled to a door and unlocked it but somehow couldn't make it out, she said.
Earles described a photo of a palm print on the inside of the door leading from the kitchen and dining room area into the garage, as well as bloodlike stains on the door frame and inner door handle.
On the floor, there were red bloodlike stains, including some in thicker pools, Earles said. He also described at least two red hand impressions on the floor.
Earles recovered a knife, which was lying on the floor next to a chair, that had a bloodlike substance and one or two hairs on its blade. He said the knife appeared similar to several others in the kitchen.
Earles took the witness stand after the completion of testimony by Detective Myrna Sabas, who photographed Berta's injuries.
Responding to questions by defense attorney William Sloper, Sabas described Berta's injuries that were visible in photographs taken the day after the stabbing. The injuries included slice marks on her right leg, bruises on her inner left thigh, scratches on her left front thigh, bruising on her right arm and apparent burn marks on her right calf area.
Sabas said she saw scars and didn't see fresh wounds.
The defense declined to make an opening statement Monday during the beginning of the trial.
The trial was scheduled to resume this morning before 2nd Circuit Judge Joel August.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at email@example.com.