Stabbing suspect’s preliminary hearing begins
The wife of a man stabbed during an altercation Saturday afternoon said she and her husband had a prior confrontation with the suspect the same day at a popular Keaukaha beach.
Alicia Coombs, the 50-year-old wife of 41-year-old stabbing victim David Coombs, testified Wednesday at a preliminary hearing in Hilo District Court for 46-year-old Paul Gibson of Ocean View, who’s charged with attempted murder and several other charges.
Coombs, of Keaukaha, said she and her husband rode their motorcycles to a party for a deceased motorcycle club member at James Kealoha Beach Park, also known as “4-Mile.” She said they went there to pay their respect and drop off $100 for the family of the deceased. She added Gibson was there and told her husband and her to “get the f—- out of here.”
“I felt it was very disrespectful that anyone can tell anybody where they can go, where they can ride, or where they can be. This is an area where I’ve lived all my life.”
Coombs said she had never seen Gibson before, but said he was wearing a vest with only the lower panel of a 3-part patch, which identified him as an Oahu prospect for “81,” a nickname for Hell’s Angels.
“He has the bottom rocker, but does not have the top rocker or the center patch. He’s a prospect, but not a full member,” Coombs said. She added her husband “retired from a motorcycle club four years ago” and was not wearing club-related attire. She didn’t identify the club.
Coombs said she gave the money to the deceased’s niece. She and her husband then left, she said, but later returned in their pickup truck and drove up “the lower road near 4-Mile” past the party, “minded our own business and had lunch.”
She said Gibson and another man rode up later and stopped their bikes in front of the truck. She said Gibson was still wearing his helmet when he allegedly said, “I will f—-ing kill you.”
“Who was that directed at?” asked Deputy Prosecutor Kim Angay.
“My husband,” Coombs replied.
Coombs said she put herself between her husband and Gibson. She said Gibson then grabbed her by the upper arms and threw her to the ground, and she displayed what appeared to be bruises near both armpits.
The woman said Gibson then “proceeded to throw blows at my husband” and a fistfight ensued. She said within a minute, the fight went to the ground with her husband on top and Gibson beneath him.
Coombs said she saw Gibson stab her husband “four to five times.”
“He didn’t even know he was being stabbed at the time,” she said.
Coombs said she tried to intervene and sustained “a little poke wound” to a forearm and bruises, and at one point the two men were side-by-side on the ground.
“At that point, I backed off and the defendant grabbed out of his vest a black-colored gun,” she said. “… I was looking straight down the barrel because it was pointed at me.”
Coombs said her husband wrestled Gibson for the gun, at one point putting him in a choke hold from below. She said her husband choked Gibson unconscious, then let him go. She said when Gibson regained consciousness, her husband told him he would let him go “as a gentleman” if he would take the gun and leave.
She said Gibson picked up the gun, then mounted his motorcycle and rode off with the other man, who she said did not participate in the alleged assault.
Coombs said she helped her husband into the truck and started toward Hilo Medical Center when she saw an ambulance approaching near Puhi Bay. She said she stopped in the middle of the road and flagged down the ambulance.
While her husband was being put into the ambulance, Coombs said an elderly couple stopped in a white car and told her they saw Gibson and the other man emerging from some bushes near Onekahakaha Beach Park. She said they took her to the place, which was on Apapane Road.
According to court documents, police found a .22-caliber semi-automatic pistol in the area.
Coombs said her husband was released from the hospital Monday.
“He’s sore,” she said. “A lot of itching on the stab wounds, but he’s still alive.”
Cross-examination of Coombs by defense counsel Michael Zola is scheduled when the hearing resumes at 10 a.m. May 22.
Gibson was in custody during the hearing in lieu of $374,000 bail. Judge Barbara Takase told Gibson if he posts bond, he is not to have contact with David or Alicia Coombs.
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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