Grisly double murder details revealed

By Peter Jackson of the Northland Age

Carmen and Ivan Maheno. Photo / Supplied
Carmen and Ivan Maheno. Photo / Supplied

As her husband lay dying from gunshot wounds, Carmen Maheno struggled with her armed nephew, who struck her in the abdomen with his rifle barrel then bashed her head with the butt.

Hearing him reload, the 38-year-old mother-of-two ran for her life towards a neighbouring farm. But Edwin Harvey Maheno chased her, shot her in the back then in the buttocks as she lay wounded on the ground.

She died 12 hours later in Whangarei Hospital.

The grisly details were read aloud to Kaitaia District Court today after Maheno, 39, admitted two counts of murder.

The court heard Maheno had gunned down his aunt and uncle Ivan Maheno in their Pamapuria, Far North home on May 19 after he snapped over an accusation he had left coffee granules in a sugar bowl.

Judge Greg Davis read extensively from the summary of facts, which he directed be released to the Northland Age. It stated that 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 the next morning he overheard a conversation between the victims regarding his inability to stick to domestic chores.

Ivan Maheno and his nephew argued, Carmen Maheno joining in and verbally abusing 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.

The defendant was so incensed by the insults that he loaded his .22 rifle, pointed it his uncle 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 the defendant 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 he had fatally shot the victims.

Ivan Maheno died at the scene but his wife died at Whangarei Hospital late that night.

The defendant then drove to an aunt's house and confessed again, before returning to the murder scene, smashing a television set with the rifle with such force that the butt broke, and stamping on Ivan Maheno's body. He collected 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; but returned to the police station and handed himself in.

He immediately stated that he had shot dead two people.

Edwin Maheno told police he became angry at the way he had been treated by the victims since they moved into the house shortly after he inherited it, and felt they were not respecting the family homestead. He had killed them so the property would go to the other siblings.

In court today counsel Ken Bailey conceded that a prima facie case had been established, and that his client was fit to plead. Judge Davis said he was satisfied that, given his statement to police, the defendant had been responsible for or witness to the shootings.

Mr Bailey also told the court that his client had never denied his actions, and that he acknowledged and thanked the court for the opportunity to enter pleas before his people.

"It was important to him to acknowledge his guilt before his whanau and this community," Mr Bailey said, adding that Edwin Maheno's actions were the result of a long-standing , "fundamental" feeling he had had that the wairua that held his world together had been badly interfered with.

He fully acknowledged the "wrongness" of his actions, however.

Judge Davis remanded Maheno in custody to reappear in the High Court at Whangarei on August 15, when a sentencing date will be set.

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