Optimism turns to despair with beating victim's death
By Mary Vorsino
Advertiser Urban Honolulu Writer
The 85-year-old woman who died following a brutal attack in her Wai'alae Nui home came to the Islands about a decade ago with her caregiver because she loved to travel, and often marveled to neighbors how lucky she was to have a view of the ocean.
"She felt blessed," said Leona Weightman, whose family moved in next door to Mary Lee Koskinen on Halekoa Drive about five years ago and instantly grew attached to the elderly woman and her live-in caregiver, 40-year-old Matthew Edmondson.
"I can't believe she's gone," Weightman said yesterday, standing at her front door.
Koskinen and Edmondson were both severely beaten in their home Jan. 21, and Edmondson remains in the hospital. Koskinen died at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, police said.
The city medical examiner yesterday listed Koskinen's cause of death as "intra-cranial injury" due to blunt force trauma to the head, and listed her manner of death as homicide. Based on those findings, police will likely revise the charges against two men — Zachary Robinson, 19, and Cody Mikami, 21 — in connection with the case.
They were facing attempted-murder and robbery charges.
Police say that an unknown amount of crystal meth was found in the Halekoa Drive home. The suspects are accused of beating the victims in what police have said was "not a random act."
Relatives of Edmondson said the caregiver was close to Koskinen, and will be devastated by her death. His mother said the two met about 15 years ago in Cambria, Calif., when Edmondson offered to give Koskinen a ride to her doctor's office.
'GOOD PLACE TO LIVE'
Edmondson has been employed as Koskinen's caregiver for 12 years, she said.
The two moved to Hawai'i together 10 years ago.
"They decided Hawai'i might be a good place to live," said Edmondson's mother, Janice, who added that her son and Koskinen traveled extensively together, visiting the Medi- terranean, making stops across Europe and taking a boat ride in France.
"They very much enjoyed each others' company — just the two of them," Edmondson said.
She said yesterday that her son is doing better, but will need months to recover. He suffered severe head injuries in the attack, she said, and needed "extreme facial surgery."
Once he is well enough to travel, he'll return to California, she said.
Edmondson also said that her son doesn't remember what happened in the attack.
"Matthew is not really all that cognizant yet" because of his injuries, she said.
Edmondson said Koskinen has a brother and sister in California.
"They're very distraught," she said.
Koskinen and Edmondson were both in critical condition after the attack, but neighbors had said Koskinen appeared to be getting better and doctors were optimistic she would pull through. Weightman, her next-door neighbor, said Koskinen was frail and suffered from dementia, but was also feisty and otherwise had no major illnesses.
Weightman said she last saw Koskinen the day before the attack.
She was standing at her bedroom window calling to Weightman's puppy.
"I still look" next door, Weightman said, "expecting I'm going to see her."