Police Arrest Man In Nanakuli Murder Investigation

Witness Says Suspect Did Not Intend To Kill Man

 UPDATED 8:37 PM HST May 02, 2007
NANAKULI, Hawaii -

Police on Wednesday arrested a man in connection with the death of a North Carolina man at a Nanakuli beach on his first night in the islands.

Christopher Reuther, 34, was attacked at Zablan Beach Park late last month.

Police arrested Less Schnabel Jr. on Wednesday morning on a second-degree murder charge.

KITV's Caroline Sluyter had an exclusive interview with a woman who was there during the attack.

The witness said her friend did not mean to kill Reuther. She said he was angry after Reuther snapped a picture of him without asking first.

The beautiful beaches in Nanakuli can lure tourists to the area.

Stanford Ka`eo said he warns them that not everyone here in paradise is friendly.

"I met someone. I'm not sure if that was him, but I meet some of these people and they're so open and free -- just like how the Hawaiians used to be," Ka`eo said. "I told them they've got to watch out."

"My friend got offended, and he got mad that the guy took a picture, and he didn't know who he was," the witness, who did not want to be identified, said.

She said she went and talked with Reuther.

"He told me, 'Hi. My name is Chris,' and he's from the mainland and he's here to take pictures of Hawaii for a keepsake," she said.

Before she realized what was going on her friend punched the man she said. She said her friend never thought the blow would be fatal.

"He told him to leave. So, Chris went to his car to put his camera away, and my friend went up to him and hit him in the face. Then he took a couple steps backward, then he fell down," the witness said.

Another witness said he saw Reuther fall down in the parking lot. He said a woman screamed for help. When he checked the man's pulse, he said there was none.

The medical examiner classified the death as a homicide. The examiner said that Reuther died of a traumatic brain hemorrhage due to blunt force head injury.

"I stayed there and I noticed there was something wrong with him. He had a hard time breathing and his eyes was rolling back," the woman said.

She said she saddened by the incident and feels badly for both Schnabel and Reuther's family.

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