Puna man charged in murder of his mother

  • Merrill

A 61-year-old Keaau man was charged with murder Saturday for the beating death of his mother.

Police report that Friday afternoon the victim was positively identified as Betty Jean Merrill, 82. She is the mother of the suspect, Robert Dean Merrill.

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After conferring with Prosecutors, detectives with the Area I Criminal Investigation Section charged Merrill with second-degree murder. He remains in police custody in lieu of $1,000,000 bail pending his initial court appearance Monday in Hilo District Court.

Puna Patrol officers responded to a residence on 15th Avenue in Hawaiian Paradise Park shortly before 9 a.m. Friday. Upon arriving, officers contacted Merrill outside of the residence and were directed to a bedroom in the house where they discovered the unresponsive victim with severe injuries to her head and facial areas. Merrill was subsequently arrested at the scene and transported to the Hilo cellblock while detectives with the Area I Criminal Investigation Section continued the murder investigation.

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The victim was transported to the Hilo Medical Center where she was pronounced dead at 12:39 p.m. An autopsy was performed, and the pathologist concluded that the victim died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head, face, and neck. The manner of death was ruled a homicide.

Anyone who may have information about this incident is asked to call Detective Wendall Carter of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2383 or WendallCarter@hawaiicounty.gov or the Hawaii Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311.

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