Maili homicide sheds light on Honolulu homeless problem

By Nana Ohkawa
Published On: Mar 05 2014 06:28:13 PM HST
Updated On: Mar 05 2014 07:42:51 PM HST

Recent spike in violence against the Hawaii homeless highlights the difficulty of surviving on the streets.

HONOLULU -

Recent violence is raising the stakes when it comes to solving Honolulu’s homeless problem.

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Derrick Hernandez, 39, appeared in court Wednesday. He is charged with second-degree murder.

Hernandez, who is homeless, is accused of killing Frankie Feliciano at Maili Beach Park early Sunday morning. Feliciano died of a stab wound to his head. The homicide is the latest in a string of violence involving homeless people.

“People obviously carry the weapon on them now because they are thinking that they could become victims, but they end up becoming perpetrators sometimes too,” said Connie Mitchell of the Institute for Human Services.

Less than two months earlier, homeless man Scott Macmillion was stabbed to death on Uluniu Street in Kailua, near Cinnamons restaurant.

A long-time cook, Macmillion had recently become homeless while battling some personal issues.

Mitchell said there is no safe harbor for homeless people.

“When people have fights, if they are not homeless, you can always go home and be protected by your place of residence,” she said. “But when people don’t have any place to go, it makes them very vulnerable.”

December 2013 had two homeless beating deaths. Police said 18-year-old RJ Marsolo flew into a drunken rage and killed 83-year-old Marmeto Eddie Semana, who was homeless.

Less than two weeks later, authorities suspect a 16-year-old boy of killing homeless man Anthony Montero near Punahou and South King streets.

“I think people need to know there’s a lot of this happening, but a lot of times it doesn’t end in death. Many are severely assaulted though,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said it comes down to having someplace to call home.

“I think housing is critical,” she said. “People need to feel safe and when people feel safe, there is a lot less likelihood that this kind of stuff is going to happen.”

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