Lawyer says man killed dancer in self-defense
By David Waite
Advertiser Courts Writer
A 33-year-old O'ahu man stabbed his former girlfriend in self-defense in her Kahala townhouse in March 2001 after he went there to try to convince her to stop "prostituting herself," his lawyer said yesterday.
In his opening statements in a jury-waived murder trial before Circuit Judge Richard Perkins, Myles Breiner said his client, Henry Lagmay, went to the home of Isabelle Yim-Mortier, 38, because he believed his ex-girlfriend was psychologically and physically abusing her then 8-year-old son, Etienne Kaala Yim.
Breiner said Lagmay had no intention of harming Yim-Mortier when he went to her townhouse and that he had a four-year relationship that had ended several months earlier. He said Lagmay stabbed Yim-Mortier but only after she came at him with a knife in each hand.
Breiner said that Lagmay had come to believe that he, Yim-Mortier and her son were a family. He said Lagmay had twice found Yim-Mortier, an exotic dancer at Deja Vu Showgirls in Waikiki, with other men.
But in his opening, city Deputy Prosecutor Glenn Kim said evidence in the case will show that Yim-Mortier had made it clear to Lagmay several weeks before the stabbing that she wanted out of the relationship with him. Kim said Lagmay went to Yim-Mortier's townhouse on Keanu Street across the Kahala Zippy's restaurant and broke in through the kitchen door.
He said a man who occasionally stayed overnight at Yim-Mortier's townhouse, primarily to watch her son while she worked, was sleeping downstairs and was awakened by the sound of breaking glass. Kim said the man will testify that he saw Lagmay walk by him quickly, go up the stairs to Yim-Mortier's bedroom, come back downstairs within 30 to 60 seconds, drop a knife and flee.
Kim said during that time, Lagmay used an 8-inch kitchen knife to stab Yim-Mortier in the neck at least five times and that any one of three of the stab wounds could have caused her death.
"She bled to death in a matter of a few minutes on the floor at the foot of her own bed," Kim said.
Etienne Yim, who is now 10, went to live with relatives in France after the incident. He is expected to testify at Lagmay's trial today with the help of a French interpreter.
Reach David Waite at email@example.com or 525-8030.