A Turlock man arrested for stabbing to death a man during an argument over a $100 debt, has pled guilty to a charge of voluntary manslaughter.
Arthur Maunakea, 54, was originally charged with a single count of murder in the death of 23-year-old Lamondre Brown.
Upon the entry of his guilty plea to the lesser charge, Maunakea was sentenced to six years in prison, according to Stanislaus County Superior Court records.
The plea was entered on March 20, just as Maunakea’s jury trial was getting underway.
Maunakea stabbed Brown to death on the afternoon of Oct. 31, 2009 at an apartment complex at 1240 N. Olive Ave.
According to testimony during the preliminary hearing, the two men were arguing about a $100 debt Maunakea owed to Brown. The confrontation between the two men began as a verbal disagreement in an apartment and escalated into a physical fight as it moved outside the residence. At some point Maunakea armed himself with a large bread knife, according to the police report.
The confrontation was seen by several witnesses. One woman testified during the preliminary hearing that she saw Maunakea move toward Brown with the knife in his hand and saw him plunge it into his chest.
Husband and wife Kevin and Yolanda Hauser, called to testify during the preliminary hearing, were driving by the apartment complex when they noticed a commotion and thought a woman was being attacked. They pulled up alongside the apartment and Kevin Hauser ran to offer help, which is when he saw Brown lying on the ground.
Kevin Hauser said he watched as Brown made a few short gasps for breath and then lapse into unconsciousness.
Both of the Hausers testified that they heard Maunakea say, “Yeah I stabbed him. He made me mad.”
Kevin Hauser also testified that Maunakea told Brown to “get up” and “be strong” and placed his sweatshirt over Brown’s wound before striding off toward Wayside, proclaiming that he was going to the police department and turn himself in.
Maunakea was taken into custody moments after the stabbing when he waved down a passing Turlock Police patrol car on Wayside Drive. He was identified by witnesses at the scene as the one responsible for the stabbing, according to the police report.
A county pathologist testified Brown died from a single stab wound that pierced Brown’s heart and lungs.
During the preliminary hearing defense attorney Shannon McBride raised the issue that Maunakea may have been struck by Brown prior to the assault.