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Attorney: Stabbing suspect feared for his life

Updated: 
May 14, 2014 - 5:52am

The lawyer for an Ocean View man accused of stabbing a Hilo man Saturday afternoon near a popular Keaukaha beach said his client feared for his life and was defending himself.

During the initial court appearance Tuesday of 46-year-old Paul Michael Gibson, his attorney, Michael Zola, told Judge Diana Van De Car that it was “absolutely clear” Gibson “is the victim in this case.”

Gibson is charged with attempted second-degree murder, third-degree assault, two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening, five firearms offenses, resisting an order to stop, and failure to provide a DNA specimen.

“The facts will come out, and the facts will show that Mr. Gibson was in fear for his life, certain that he was about to be killed, when he used a knife in self-defense,” Zola said.

According to court documents filed by police, Gibson was involved in a physical affray with 41-year-old David Coombes of Hilo at the southwest end of James Kealoha Beach Park. Documents state that Gibson brandished a knife with a 6-inch blade and stabbed Coombes seven times “along his left and rear mid-section” and also brandished a black handgun and pointed it at Coombes.

Coombes was taken to Hilo Medical Center in critical but stable condition, police said. His condition was later upgraded to serious but stable, documents state.

Zola asked the court to free Gibson on supervised release, describing him “a trustworthy citizen” who “owns three homes on this island” and “a genuinely respectable gentleman.”

Deputy Prosecutor Patricia Loo argued to maintain Gibson’s bail at $374,000.

Van De Car maintained Gibson’s bail and set a preliminary hearing for 2 p.m. today.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.