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The brutal murder of a landlord in Honolulu has shocked the community.

Kendall Gray, a 23-year-old man, has been charged with second-degree murder after he allegedly beat 64-year-old Alvin Matsumoto to death while Matsumoto was attempting to evict Gray from an apartment on Sheridan Street.

Court documents state that Gray owed $3,200 in past due rent and he and Matsumoto were court-ordered to attend mediation, which Gray cancelled.

The court then ordered possession of the unit back to Matsumoto, effective the following Monday, but Gray allegedly killed Matsumoto on the previous Sunday.

Mediation, which aims to create a line of communication and a peaceful resolution between landlords and tenants, is being encouraged by the state legislature.

Each county in Hawaii has a mediation center, and the Big Island and Kauai are currently offering free mediation for evictions.

A bill in the state legislature would require landlords to participate in mediation before filing an action for summary possession and create an emergency rent relief program to provide resources to help avoid eviction and maintain stable tenancies.

Julie Mitchell, the executive director of the Ku’ikahi Mediation Center, emphasizes that the mediators are trained professionals who will not force an agreement on anyone and that many problems stem from communication breakdowns.

Links to the state’s mediation centers and information on eviction options for landlords and tenants can be found on KHON2’s website.

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