Kerns forgave Ard before death, records say

Dr. Jon Kerns asked God to forgive murder suspect Raymond Earl Ard as Kerns lay dying from a dozen stab wounds, according to statements by witnesses that appear in Kaua‘i District Court records obtained by The Garden Island.

According to statements made to police officers by both Claudia Kerns, Kerns’ wife, and Ard himself, the Kerns’ tenant on their property on Menehune Road in Waimea Valley, Dr. Kerns’ last words were that he loved his wife and asked that God forgive Ard for stabbing him.

Also in statements that appear in the court records given to Kaua‘i Police Department Detectives Kaleo Perez and Joseph Adric, Ard, 39, admitted to stabbing Kerns, 64, because he was “Satan in the flesh.”

Raymond Earl Ard pleaded not guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder charges for the slaying of retired doctor, Jon Kerns, and his 15-year-old stepson during a brief appearance in District Court.

Ard, looking unkempt in shorts, Tshirt, and bare feet, buried his head in his chest during most of the three-minute proceeding before Circuit Court Judge Trudy Senda. Ard’s public defender, James Itamura, waived reading of the charges and pleaded not guilty on second-degree murder and second-degree attempted murder charges.

Ard is being held at Kaua‘i Community Correctional Facility in lieu of $200,000 bail.

In court records obtained by The Garden Island, it is shown that Ard agreed to talk to police after being arrested Monday, and said to Detective Joseph Adric that “his neighbor Jon was Satan in the flesh and that Claudia and Jon were out to kill him.”

According to Adric’s sworn affidavit, Ard said that “his neighbors had evil spirits in them and that he hurt the son that he loves.”

Ard’s stepson was treated for wounds to the shoulder Sunday at Kaua‘i Veteran’s Memorial Hospital and released Monday.

In the police interview, which occurred after Ard kept changing his mind on whether he wanted to sleep or talk to police, making references to Satan, unclean spirits, possession, and quotes from the Bible, Perez’s statement said.

Ard also said that God showed him he would preach to those in jail, the detective’s sworn statement continued.

Ard admitted that after the incident, he ran from his home and swam across the Makaweli River and hid from police numerous times in sugar cane fields, the detectives said.

He was found wearing no shoes and no shirt in the cane fields in Makaweli Valley mauka of Kaumakani around 9 a.m. Monday.

According to Claudia Kerns’ statement given to the two detectives, the doctor was friendly to Ard until the end. Hours before the incident, Jon gave Ard’s developmentally disabled son a bath and the Kerns and Ard ate dinner together.

Ard’s wife was working on a cruise ship and was onboard when the incident occurred, detectives said.

Kerns’ statement said that her husband went over to look for Ard’s truck keys and that after her husband started screaming for help, she saw Ray stabbing him.

Ray, covered in blood, began walking toward her, she told detectives.

But, as she screamed louder and began backing away, her statement said, Ard ran down Menehune Road.

Police statements also revealed that they recovered two knives from the Ard rental home’s kitchen floor, which were covered in blood.

Ard’s wife and son moved out Tuesday from the Kerns’ rental unit, according to media reports.

Ard’s wife, in a statement to the Det. Perez, said that Ard is diagnosed as a manic-depressive, and that “this was extreme for him to have done this.”

Funeral arrangements have not been finalized for the retired doctor from California, but his sister, brother-in-law, and his son flew in yesterday.

They described the doctor as a brilliant man and a committed Christian who was good at pretty much everything that he did.

“He was always in Church,” his sister, Helen Egy, said yesterday. “He always believed that people were good no matter who they were.”

They said that he would master a field and move on to the next hobby.

“He was never one to sit around,” Ronald Egy, Kerns’ brother-in-law said. ” He had hobbies. He was one of those rare individuals.”

“He had lots of energy. Jon was the type of guy who got excited about things” and projects, he added. “He never complained.”

Tom Finnegan, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) and tfinnegan@pulitzer.net.

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