Hawaii police charge man with death of acclaimed artist

HILO, Hawaii — A Hawaii man was charged in the death of an acclaimed artist who was found near his home on the Big Island, authorities said.

Michael Cecil Lee, 55, was charged with second-degree murder in connection with the Dec. 4 death of 75-year-old Shingo Honda, police said.

Police arrested Lee after he was detained by members of the public when he tried to flee from officers at the Pahoa Christmas Parade on the Big Island Saturday, authorities said.

“They started after him, and he spotted them and started to run,” said Lynne Farr, Honda’s wife. “And the crowd grabbed the guy and kept him for the police.”

Lee has been held in lieu of $250,000 bail and was scheduled to appear Monday in Hilo District Court, police said.

It was not immediately clear whether Lee had an attorney. The public defender’s office in Hilo declined to comment on whether it was representing Lee. Mallorie, who would only give her first name in line with office policy, said the office doesn’t know whether a public defender would be Lee’s attorney.

Police found Honda’s body near his home after responding to a report of a missing elderly male in the Orchid Isle Estates in Puna, officials said.

An autopsy determined Honda died as a result of multiple injuries caused by blunt force trauma, authorities said.

A native of Japan and a former Zen priest, Honda’s prolific work as a painter and sculptor was exhibited across the globe in numerous exhibitions.

Neighbors kept watch for a suspect during the period between her husband’s death Wednesday and Lee’s arrest Saturday, Farr said.

“Six guys out with guns and dogs looking for the guy,” Farr said. “People have been staying in their trucks on my street to make sure I’d be okay.”

  1. harry oyama December 9, 2019 2:40 pm Reply

    We lost an accomplished individual who contributed much more than most can within their life span, murdered by a human parasite. Now us taxpayers will have to foot the bill to house, feed and provide medical/dental services for this criminal who will contribute nothing in return expect consume valuable air and produce sewage, Better to just throw him in the ocean for the sharks to feed on.

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