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Soldier discharged weeks before allegedly beating landlord to death

Crime scene tape (Dreamstime/TNS)
April 05, 2023

A former Army soldier accused of savagely beating his landlord to death had been discharged from the service for undisclosed reasons less than a month prior.

The ex-soldier, 23-year-old Kendall Gray, has been charged in the March 19 killing of his 64-year-old landlord, Alvin Matsumoto, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. Surveillance footage of the incident shows a man stomping on Matsumoto’s head and chest in a stairwell.

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About three weeks earlier, on Feb. 23, Kendall had been administratively separated from the Army. The nature of the involuntary discharge remains unclear. Such separations can happen for a variety of reasons, including inadequate physical fitness or a criminal conviction.

“Due to privacy concerns, we cannot release the reason for his separation or characterization of his service,“ said spokesperson William Costello of the U.S. Army Human Resources Command, according to the Star-Advertiser.

Gray is being held without bail ahead of his trial, which is set to begin June 5. 

Gray joined the Army in 2017, and his last assignment was at Schofield Barracks, an Army installation in Honolulu, according to the Star-Advertiser. He served as a cavalry scout in Germany from 2017 to 2019 – a period of time that also reportedly included a deployment to Turkey.

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Prior to the deadly incident, Matsumoto had texted Gray to notify him that he would be evicted. The landlord had also reportedly filed a complaint against Gray and a woman, Cheryl Dula, for defaulting on a rental agreement for an apartment.

The Honolulu Police Department said Matsumoto was trying to evict Gray’s girlfriend from her apartment when the assault occurred, HawaiiNewsNow reported.

Police said Matusomoto was bleeding profusely from his head when emergency responders arrived and later died at a hospital, HNN reported. A nearby condo resident, Shawn Giles, said he witnessed a man dragging the blood-covered landlord down a flight of stairs.

“He’s dragging him like a caveman. Just dragging the body,” Giles said. “I said, ‘Hey put him down,’ and he turned around and said ‘oh, call 911. He needs help’ and from there I knew something was wrong.”