Killer struck over coffee claim

By Peter Jackson

The man who admitted murdering his uncle and aunt at their home south of Kaitaia in May snapped over an accusation that he had left coffee granules in a sugar bowl.

Edwin Harvey Maheno, 39, yesterday pleaded guilty to two charges of murder when he appeared in Kaitaia District Court over the deaths of Ivan Maheno and his wife Carmen Maheno at their Pukepoto home on May 19.

Maheno was remanded in custody for an appearance in the High Court at Whangarei on August 15, when a sentencing date will be set. Judge Greg Davis read extensively from the summary of facts which said the defendant and his victims had shared the house Edwin Maheno grew up in, and inherited from his grandmother in 2009.

The victims hosted a social gathering on the night of May 18; the defendant was not involved, but next morning he overheard a conversation between the couple about his inability to stick to domestic chores. Ivan Maheno and his nephew argued, Carmen Maheno joining in and verbally abused the defendant. The specific issue, Judge Davis said, was the discovery of coffee granules in a sugar bowl, which Edwin Maheno was accused of being responsible for but denied.

He was so incensed by the insults, Judge Davis said, that he loaded his .22 rifle, pointed it at Ivan Maheno and shot him in the head, despite profuse apologies from the victim, followed by a shot to the right cheek.

Carmen Maheno ran to investigate, and struggled with the defendant, who punched her in the head, struck her in the abdomen with the rifle barrel then in the head with the butt as she crouched on the floor. There was a second struggle as Edwin Maheno tried to reload the rifle. When Carmen Maheno heard another round enter the chamber she ran towards a neighbouring farm fence, the defendant chasing her and shooting her in the back of the head, then in the buttocks.

Edwin Maheno then drove away from the house, with the rifle, telling an uncle he met at the bottom of the driveway that he had fatally shot the victims. (Ivan Maheno died at the scene but his wife died at Whangarei Hospital late that night). He then drove to an aunt's house and told her also, before returning to his home, smashing the television set with the rifle with such force that the butt broke, and stamping on Ivan Maheno's body. He collected some items from his room, then, still with the rifle, drove to the Kaitaia police station. When he was unable to find anyone to open a door he drove to his mother's home at Ahipara; unable to find her he returned to the police station and handed himself in.

He immediately said that he had shot two people dead, telling police that he had become angry at the way he had been treated by the pair since they moved into the house shortly after he inherited it.


- Northern Advocate

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