(BIVN) – 55-year-old Michael Cecil Lee, charged with second-degree murder in the death of 75-year-old Shingo Honda, made his initial court appearance on Monday.
Lee stood before Judge Kimberly Taniyama in Hilo, two days after he was arrested on Pāhoa Village Road during the town’s annual holiday parade.
Police, and the community, were on the look-out for Lee, after Honda was found dead in Puna’s Orchid Isle Estates subdivision (aka Glenwood Gardens) on Wednesday.
“Shingo Honda was an incredible man,” said Kristen Thario, a friend and neighbor of Honda and his wife, Lynn Farr. “He was fun and creative and he had a childlike heart. You meet with him and talk with him and he was just a happy spirit.”
Thario was present in court for Lee’s appearance. “It was very challenging. Very hard,” she said. “We’re holding hands with friends and neighbors who are able to be there today. [Lee’s] outbursts, it just was really unexpected.”
“I’m very glad that people had the courage and the knowledge to help intervene,” said Thario. “People in the public that were just there to view the parade were able to help officers, kind of, apprehend this man.”
An autopsy determined that Honda, a celebrated artist, died as a result of multiple injuries caused by blunt force trauma, police say.
Lee, who was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs as he struggled to shield his face from media cameras, will be back before the judge on December 11th.
“Shingo Honda had a lot of light in his heart,” Thario said, “and it showed in everything that he did from his friendship to his artwork.”