Army veteran who killed elderly Eden Roc man will remain in mental hospital

  • UTECHT

A 31-year-old former Army sergeant acquitted by reason of insanity last year of fatally stabbing a 71-year-old Eden Roc subdivision man with a piece of the victim’s broken cane will remain in the Hawaii State Hospital on Oahu for the time being.

Hilo Circuit Judge Peter Kubota said during a videoconference hearing last month he has reviewed a report by the Department of Health about Malcolm Keith Utecht, and set a review hearing for Aug. 6. The judge said the Oahu state mental hospital can request a hearing sooner, if needed.

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According to court minutes, the hospital was in the process of obtaining a VA social worker for Utecht.

The Northern California native was acquitted by Kubota on Oct. 21, 2020, of second-degree murder, burglary, fourth-degree sexual assault and indecent exposure for the Jan. 7, 2020, death of Solomon A.K.K.M. Matthews.

Kubota’s verdict followed a stipulated facts trial on Oct. 5, in which Kubota said the state had proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The judge added the evidence showed that Utecht was suffering from a physical and/or mental disease or disorder that affected his ability to conform his conduct according to the law and/or impaired his ability to appreciate the wrongfulness of his behavior.

Kubota further ruled that Utecht was still affected by the disease or disorder and was a danger to himself and others.

The judge committed Utecht to the custody of the director of the DOH, where he remains.

On the date of the offense, police responded to Palainui Avenue in Eden Roc at about 7 p.m. after receiving reports of a naked man on the road who attempted to stop and get into vehicles.

A witness directed officers to Matthews’ driveway, saying he’d seen the naked man run onto the property, according to a court document filed by police. There, officers found Utecht kneeling on the ground of a tent structure on the property, bleeding from the head and picking up rocks.

The document states Utecht was attempting to cover Matthews’ lifeless body — which appeared to have a stab wound to the neck — with his own body.

Utecht resisted several commands to show his hands and was taken into custody after being Tasered, according to the document.

After being advised of his rights, Utecht told officers “he didn’t know why he did evil, and he just snapped,” the document states. Utecht allegedly told police he “got naked and went for a long walk” before being confronted by a bat-wielding man.

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At that point, Utecht said he was scared, ran away and entered Matthews’ house, where there were children inside. There, he was confronted by Matthews, who attempted to defend himself by using his cane to hit Utecht.

According to Utecht, the cane broke during the altercation, and he used a broken piece of the walking stick to stab Matthews in the neck, the document states.

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