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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, July 25, 2002

Pearl Harbor sailor charged in murders of wife, in-law

By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer

Navy authorities yesterday charged a Pearl Harbor sailor in the beating death of his wife and fatal stabbing of his mother-in-law.

David Allen DeArmond, 32, was charged with the murders of Zaleha K. DeArmond, 31, and her mother, Saniah Binte Abdul Ghani, 66, of Singapore. The women's bodies were found June 10 in the DeArmonds' Hokulani subdivision home near Pearl Harbor.

The sailor is accused of killing his wife by "striking her in the head with an iron skillet" and fatally stabbing his mother-in-law with a knife, the Navy said.

DeArmond also is accused of raping his wife and other charges.

The next step in the military justice process is review of charges at a pre-trial investigation hearing. Based on the results of the hearing, the convening authority will determine whether to refer the charges to a court martial, where DeArmond could receive the death penalty if convicted.

A month before the killings, on May 3, Zaleha DeArmond filed a protected court order against her husband, saying he was physically abusive and "very capable of causing harm."

She filed for a temporary restraining order from family court May 3, which the courts granted. In her request for protection, the wife said her husband broke the dining table, "threw away the Quran, threw away our wedding photo in the toilet bowl." She also said her husband called her derogatory names and threatened to take custody of their three young children.

On June 10, DeArmond turned himself into Navy authorities and told officers there was an emergency at his home. When emergency personnel arrived, they found the women's bodies on the second floor of the home.

DeArmond, a hull technician second class, has been held at the Ford Island brig since June 10. He has been in the Navy for 13 years.

The couple's three children — boys ages 2 and 5 and a 3-year-old girl — were not injured in the attacks. They were transferred to the state's Child Protective Services.