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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, June 15, 2002

Man found guilty in stabbing of sous chef

By David Waite
Advertiser Staff Writer

A former Sheraton Waikiki food service worker faces life in prison with parole after a state judge found him guilty yesterday of second-degree murder for the Dec. 1, 2000, stabbing death of Tom Matsuda, the hotel's executive sous chef.

Tam Van Huynh's lawyer, Nelson Goo, never denied during the jury-waived trial before Circuit Judge Sandra Simms that Huynh stabbed Matsuda. He argued that Huynh was mentally ill at the time, could not control his anger and did not understand that stabbing Matsuda was wrong.

But city Deputy Prosecutor Rom Trader said at trial that a minor scheduling change caused Huynh to fly into rage and that Huynh simply stabbed his boss because he did not get his way.

Matsuda, 49, a father of three who earned Manager of the Year honors at Sheraton, had worked at the hotel for 22 years.

The workplace violence case is eerily similar to that of copier repairman Byran Uyesugi, who gunned down seven co-workers at a Xerox warehouse on Nimitz Highway in November 1999.

Both men showed signs of violence but were allowed to remain on the job after completing anger-management programs.

A jury rejected Uyesugi's insanity defense and convicted him of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life without parole, the harshest penalty allowed by Hawai'i law.

Huynh, 41, will be sentenced. Oct. 8.

Reach David Waite at dwaite@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8030.