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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, August 7, 2009

Mayapple McCullough, advocate


By John Burnett
Hawaii Tribune-Herald

HILO, Hawai'i An advocate for crime victims who herself became a crime victim has died on the Mainland.

Mayapple McCullough, formerly of Hilo and Pahoa, who helped found the group Citizens for Justice, died June 27 in Little Rock, Ark. She was 62. The cause of death was not disclosed.

McCullough, born in Little Rock, became well known on the Big Island during the 1990s as a vocal critic of the Hawai'i County Police Department and for her efforts to bring killers to justice in at least two high-profile murder cases.

"She was very vocal in her advocacy for victims, especially in the Yvonne Mathison case," county Prosecutor Jay Kimura said. "She represented the victims the best she could in trying to get more services for victims."

Mathison died Nov. 27, 1992, beaten with a lead pipe and struck with a van. Mathison's husband, Kenneth, a police sergeant, was convicted of killing her to collect an insurance policy worth more than $500,000.

McCullough and Citizens for Justice alleged police were covering up Kenneth Mathison's crime, which was originally classified as a traffic accident. It took three years for the case to go to trial.

McCullough and Citizens for Justice also helped keep the 1991 murder of Dana Ireland in the news until the case was resolved.

It took nearly a decade to convict Frank Pauline Jr., Albert Ian Schweitzer and Shawn Schweitzer of killing Ireland, 23, who was run over by a car, raped and beaten with a tire iron in lower Puna.

McCullough herself became a victim in 2000, when her home, near where Ireland died, was burglarized and McCullough was sexually assaulted. Claude K. Krause was convicted in 2001 of those crimes.