Domestic Violence Leads to Fatal Shooting

Last Wednesday night, 24-year-old Malia Kahalewai was fatally shot at Kawela Barns in a tragedy that shook Molokai. Police responded to a 911 call around 10 p.m. and found Kahalewai with a single gunshot wound to her chest. She was taken to Molokai General Hospital in critical condition, where she died, according to police.

Crime scenes of fatal shootings like this should be left untouched for the authorities to conduct a thorough forensic investigation and collection of evidence. Then, a clean-up can be done by a company that specializes in crime scene cleanup services. 

Police arrested Kahalewai’s boyfriend, Marlin Lavoie, 33, Thursday morning after he surrendered himself. Lavoie has been charged with second degree murder and is being held on a $500,000 cash-only bail. Individuals who are facing criminal charges may seek 24/7 bail bonds services if they are allowed to post bail.

Lavoie shot his girlfriend of nine years with a rifle in front of their friends and children, witnesses say. According to court documents, the two had separated after a domestic violence incident on March 16, just four days before the shooting. Wednesday night, Lavoie drove from his residence in Honouliwai in east Molokai looking for Kahalewai and found her at her friend’s Kawela Barns residence.

After Lavoie spoke to her for about 30 minutes, Kahalewai walked out of the apartment and sat on a sofa on the lanai, according to the document. Lavoie followed her and they continued to talk.

“The conversation failed to resolve their differences and Lavoie became distraught,” the document states. He then retrieved a rifle from his parked car and returned, pointing the weapon at Kahalewai. “You like leave me,” he said to her, then fired a single shot at her chest, according to court documents.

Lavoie fled the scene to the east, where he later turned himself in to police.

In addition to second degree murder, Lavoie has been charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, first degree terroristic threatening, improper place to keep a loaded firearm, and two other charges.

Lavoie has a criminal record of violence, burglary and assault, and has previously served a one-year jail sentence, according to court records. In 2008, Kahalewai had a restraining order against him.

After the March 16 incident, Lavoie had been arrested on domestic violence charges but was released after posting bail, according to police.

For some, the tragedy brings to light the importance of addressing domestic violence before it escalates.

“From now on, I hope that everyone takes all threats of violence very seriously,” said Wanette Lee, Director of Molokai’s Hale Ho`omalu, which provides services for both victims and perpetrators. “Call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 567-6888 if you have been threatened or if someone you care about has been threatened.”

“This event was heartbreaking for all of us. We are grieving for both families, and especially for the children,” added Karen Holt, Executive Director of the Molokai Community Service Council, which is home to Hale Ho`omalu services. “This will happen again unless we all pull together and have the courage to start saying ‘no’ to violence in our families.”


11 Responses to “Domestic Violence Leads to Fatal Shooting”

  1. fh says:

    How many Molokai women have to be murdered before this problem is taken seriously? Why was Malia’s murderer allowed to go free with barely a wrist slap after the March 16 incident? While some of the problem is the lax attitude that seems to prevail here, more is due to the Hawaii domestic abuse statute that gives the responding police officer near total discretion when responding to these incidents. All of the actions prescribed by the law for the officer to take are preceded by the word “may”, which implies “…or may not”. It depends on the mood he is in. The law needs to be changed to replace “may” with “shall”, especially for repeat offenses and offenders who have a violent criminal history as did Malia’s murderer.

    This won’t make the problem go away but it may reduce the fatalities by better protecting the victims before the escalation to murder.

  2. Google It says:

    this is very sad. why didnt her friends help her by taking her to the womens shelter? instead of having the victim & the children around domestic violence. makes no sense. her friends are at fault here although they didn’t pull the trigger they sure did keep her in an unsafe unprotected residence.

  3. Google It says:

    This is such a tragedy. Though like I stated in the other article in regards to this, it could have been prevented. As I read in the Maui news four days before the shooting Lavoie had found Kahalewai with a friend parked in a church parking lot in Kalamaula. Where he opened her driver door & hit her, then took the keys from the ignition. He was later arrested that same day for abuse of family household member. Now with this happening, why didn’t the friend, Kahalewai was with suggest or take Kahalewai to the Womens shelter? Was this not a red flag to her friend? It should have been. Maybe her friend is also in an abusive/dysfunctional relationship & is use to to this kind of act. Who knows, right?. Well it could have been prevented. No one knows when someone will come out & randomly? shoot/kill someone, however there are signs that lead up to it. I suggest Kahalewais friend(s) get some help themselves because to not know there were obvious red flags means you are blinded to the importance of life and domestic violence. Who ever chooses to be upset with this post, I am expressing my look on it. Also her friends may not have pulled the trigger however they did nothing to help protect her. They fed her to the wolf. They should be held liable for some kind of neglect.

    • kalaniua ritte says:

      every one on molokai knows where this shelter is.molokai is small sooner or later you will eventually run in to one another..marlin did it and i hope he gets what he deserves …but dont blame her friends.aloha
      and if you going blame some one with something like this in a public arena at least use your name and stand by your words.

  4. fh says:

    Nobody who is not associated with his legal defense is excusing Mr. Lavoie’s actions. He is directly, totally and solely responsible. That his actions were random is nonsense. There is ample documentation of an escalating cycle of violence on the part of domestic abusers. If they get away with it once, it will happen again and probably some amount worse than the first time. Eventually, it will be catastrophic. The only difficulty is predicting the rate of progression. There needs to be a zero tolerance approach to domestic abuse on all sides of the equation. Discretion will lead to disaster. No person, once struck, should remain in the abusive relationship. It will only get worse once the initial barrier is broken down. The authorities need to be empowered and required to act decisively. When it reaches the point of their involvement, it is already out of control. Namby-pamby short term TRO’s and low bails serve only to exacerbate the situation.

  5. Ludy says:

    I am left feeling so empty………..About the shelter…personally after getting struck for years and years, I learned to recognize when the violence was going to escalate. One brave day I took myself to the shelter, and I was told I could not enter because I had not been hit (on that day). I just remember thinking F U, who can you trust, not the shelter. Then my abuse went on another few years until I got brave enough to leave the Island. Abuse Woman are sickly stuck, without some supportive person pulling them out of the situation.

  6. Google It says:

    I am sorry to have offended anyone by my comments. It is so heartbreaking to know that Malias younger brother has sought out to be with his sister. I am so saddened of this tragedy. My hopes is that the people of Moloka’i can be given the exceptional services to reach out & prevent tragedies like this from happening again.

  7. Jess M says:

    too bad this had to happen. so whats gonna happen now? what about her kids? malias kids are beautiful children & im so sad this happened to them. i hope whoever takes care of them does it right cause i know malias mom needs help her self. shes an addict with issues & never took care of her own kids. and no body tell me this not true, because it is i know firsthand that it is. everybody involved needs go to to dope classes cause they all dope heads true story.bless these little kids & god pray they are loved & taken good care of.

    • Mary jane says:

      To Jess M this is Malia and Kaimana’s mom you got something to say to me come tell it to my face, brave up, unless you’re a coward like Marllin shoot and run. So you write shet about me and hide your face from me. Come by me , come stand in the light. You know Pastor Lani Sahugun at my First Assembly lof God church told me Mary Jane watch out for demons

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