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Man charged in Kula woman’s murder held without bail

Prosecutor says she was brought to hospital with evidence of blunt force trauma

Murder suspect Brian Sherrell appears by videoconference from the courthouse cellblock for his initial appearance Thursday in Wailuku District Court. Sherrell is charged with second-degree murder of 42-year-old Angela Johnson, who was dead when she was taken to Kula Hospital on Sunday morning, according to police. Deputy Public Defender David Pullman represents Sherrell in court Thursday. The Maui News / LILA FUJIMOTO photo

WAILUKU — A 54-year-old man is being held without bail after he was charged with second-degree murder of a woman at his residence in Kanaio.

The complaint filed against Brian Sherrell alleges he committed the murder “in an especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel manner, manifesting exceptional depravity.”

Because of that enhancement, Sherrell could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if he is convicted as charged, Deputy Prosecutor Anthony Herndon said during Sherrell’s initial appearance Thursday in Wailuku District Court.

Police said the victim, 42-year-old Angela Johnson, who was in a relationship with Sherrell, was dead when he took her to the Kula Hospital emergency room at 8:31 a.m. Sunday.

Her body “had multiple bruising, multiple injuries to the head, which indicated blunt force trauma,” Herndon said.

The complaint alleges the murder occurred between June 17 and Sunday.

Herndon said police executed a search warrant at Sherrell’s home and found “blood evidence in numerous places throughout the home.”

Sherrell told police only he and the woman were at the home, Herndon said.

He said Sherrell also told police that “when he realized that the victim was in serious condition, he took electrical wires in some misguided attempt to do an at-home treatment and electrocuted her several times in the chest.”

Police set bail at $1 million for Sherrell.

In asking for the defendant to be held on no-bail status, Herndon cited the factual allegations of the crime as well as the risk that Sherrell would flee.

He was arrested Tuesday at Kahului Airport with a plane ticket, “in the midst of taking a flight out of state,” Herndon said.

Police records show Sherrell was arrested at 2:42 p.m. Tuesday.

Deputy Public Defender David Pullman asked for bail to be reduced to $100,000 for Sherrell.

Pullman said the fact that Sherrell had a plane ticket “doesn’t mean he was fleeing prosecution.”

“He does have relatives in Oregon that he was going to see,” Pullman said.

Judge Blaine Kobayashi ordered that Sherrell be held without bail in the case.

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

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