Higa told police Cyrus Belt was alive before he was tossed from overpass
By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer
Accused child killer Matthew Higa told police that the 23-month-old victim was alive and moving when Higa threw the boy off a freeway overpass to his death, an HPD detective testified this morning.
The defendant made the statement to HPD homicide detective Ken Higa the day after defendant Higa was arrested on suspicion of murdering toddler Cyrus Belt in a crime that shocked the state and made headlines around the country.
Presentation of evidence against Higa is likely to conclude this afternoon and the trial is expected to end by Friday, making it one of the quickest prosecutions of a major murder case in recent memory.
Defense lawyer Randall Oyama will likely begin presenting Higa’s side of the case later today. Tomorrow the trial is in recess and Oyama will call more witnesses Thursday.
Oyama has argued in court papers that the victim was dead or insensible when Higa threw him from the Miller Street freeway overpass into the path of oncoming traffic Jan. 17, 2009.
But Prosecutor Peter Carlisle said in his opening statement Higa told the detective that Cyrus “was alive, yelling and crying and moving his arms and legs” when Higa took him to the overpass.
Higa also told the detective “he knew the baby was likely dead as a result of being thrown from the overpass,” Carlisle said.
Oyama has argued in court papers that Higa’s statements may have been “confabulation,” a psychiatric phenomenon in which "the mind creates an alternative scenario to fill gaps in memory caused by mental disease or defect."
The nonjury trial is being conducted before Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario.
The prosecution and defense agreed ahead of time on the admissibility of much of the evidence, including transcripts of statements from witnesses, allowing the proceedings to move quickly.