WAILUKU - A 44-year-old man is being held without bail after being charged with the attempted murder of his mother, who went to the Lahaina Police Station after receiving a threatening message her son left on her voice mail last week.
When officers went to the family's Launiupoko residence April 4 to serve Eric Stroeve with a warning citation to leave the home, five types of hammers, a crescent wrench and a dumbbell were on a table about 10 feet from the front door, Lahaina patrol officer Robert Corpuz testified Tuesday.
"They were placed neatly on the table, all in line, with a longer hammer in the back of the table," Corpuz said during a preliminary hearing for Stroeve.
Officer Stuart Farberow, who also went to the residence and knocked on the door, said he asked Stroeve to sit on an outside bench near the door. After seeing the tools on the table, Farberow said, he stood in the doorway, positioning himself between the door and Stroeve.
As Corpuz collected the tools from the table, Stroeve asked where the officer was going with his tools. Farberow said he told Stroeve they were moving the tools "for safety reasons."
When the officer asked why the tools were there, Stroeve replied, "Cause that's what I'm going to use to bash their heads in," Farberow testified.
While his mother and stepfather were out to dinner that evening, Stroeve had locked windows and doors to the residence, "including locking the garage remote control in the vehicle so even that couldn't be used to gain access into or out of the residence," said Deputy Prosecutor Emlyn Higa.
He said that allowed Stroeve to control the way anyone could enter the residence, forcing them to use the front door.
"He would have the weapons to carry out the threat he made earlier to kill them," Higa said. "He intended to use those tools to bash their heads in. If somebody should attempt to escape from the residence once they came in, it would certainly slow them down."
While Higa said the evidence supported the second-degree attempted murder charge, Deputy Public Defender Adriel Menor argued that there wasn't proof that Stroeve's actions amounted to an intent to take a substantial step toward committing murder.
Menor said that, under the prosecution's analysis, someone could be charged with attempted murder "whenever a threat is made and there is an implement nearby."
That would mean that someone who made a threat in a kitchen where there was a butcher knife could be charged with attempted murder, as could an electrician who made a threat while in his truck with his tool pouch containing a wire stripper or a box cutter, Menor said.
In the voice-mail message, which Stroeve's mother retrieved at 6:30 p.m. April 4, Stroeve said several times that he would kill her and at one point said that if she returned to the property, she would be dead, Higa said. In the same message, he said, Stroeve also threatened to kill his stepfather and stepbrother.
Stroeve had been living at the home since arriving on Maui from California on Oct. 11, Higa said.
Farberow said Stroeve refused to comply when asked to leave the premises the evening of April 4. Stroeve was taken to the ground and handcuffed outside the house, Farberow said.
After hearing testimony Tuesday, District Judge Kelsey Kawano ruled there was enough evidence to support charges of second-degree attempted murder and first-degree terroristic threatening. Kawano continued Stroeve's no-bail status.
Stroeve is scheduled to be arraigned April 24 in 2nd Circuit Court.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.