Probable cause has been found to charge William Abraham Kapono Mathewson with attempted murder in the first degree and two other charges over the beating and stabbing of Dr. Francois Claassens.
At a preliminary hearing yesterday, Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho said the prosecution presented enough evidence to charge the 36-year-old Mathewson with attempted first degree murder, aggravated assault and battery, and assault with a dangerous weapon.
Camacho noted that, according to the testimony of police detective Simon Manacop, even as Claassens was already on the ground, Mathewson pushed the fishing spear rod through his neck until it came out in his mouth.
The judge said there was also the statement of Claassens’ son, who saw Mathewson continue to hit the victim with a chain and a big pot on the head.
The doctor suffered serious injuries as a result of the assault.
Chief Prosecutor Leonardo Rapadas called to the witness stand Manacop, who narrated to the court how Claassens was attacked by Mathewson in the backyard of the doctor’s house in Teneto Village on the morning of April 4, 2015.
Manacop said a police officer who arrived at the scene heard Mathewson yelling repeatedly, “I killed the doc.”
Manacop testified that he, along with police detective Nick Rabauliman and crime scene detective Jeffrey Bahillo, went to Rota on April 7 to complete processing of the crime scene. Manacop said they brought the evidence from Rota to the Department of Public Safety on Saipan.
Manacop said when they arrived on Rota, the crime scene was already secured by Rota police. Among the recovered evidence were a spear, a chain, shovel, rock, pot, and Mathewson’s cellphone.
Manacop said they gathered that Mathewson also strangled the doctor with his phone’s cord and punched him in the face and head, with his fist wrapped with the chain.
Manacop said that when he saw Mathewson after his arrest, the suspect had a bruise on the left side of his neck and scratches on his legs.
As to the charge of attempted murder in the first degree, Rapadas argued that Mathewson was angry when he went to the doctor’s house and that during the attack, he assaulted the victim with a rock, pot, a chain wrapped around his fist, and a spear.
Rapadas said the suspect wanted to make sure that the doctor was dead by pushing the spear in his neck.
When police arrested Mathewson at the scene, the suspect stated that he wanted to see the doctor die, Rapadas said.
These evidence show that Mathewson intended to kill Claassens, he added.
Assistant public defender Michael Sato argued that the prosecution made a clerical error in charging the defendant with attempted first degree murder as there is no evidence of premeditation.
In asking the court to dismiss the charge of attempted first degree murder, Sato said there’s no evidence to suggest that it was a willful premeditation.
Sato did not argue regarding the other charges of aggravated assault and battery and assault with a dangerous weapon.
In his rebuttal, Rapadas said they proved premeditation, which may occur even only in seconds.
Sitting on the first row bench behind Mathewson was his aunt and sister. During a short break, the suspect smiled at the two.
The sister and aunt, who flew from Hawaii on Monday, said they were shocked with the incident because they said Mathewson is not a violent person. They refused to comment further.
Claassens’ injuries include puncture wounds in his nape and right side of mouth. He sustained numerous deep lacerations and contusions to the head, and his right ear was bleeding. He suffered fractured legs, arms, and skull, police said. He was last reported to be slowly recovering in a Guam hospital.