The 41-year-old Kahaluu landlord charged with murder may have been high on methamphetamine Thursday before he allegedly killed his 23-year-old tenant, Kenneth Ratzlaff, leaving his bloodied body in a shipping container, according to court documents filed Monday.
Samuel Campiformio made his initial court appearance Monday on a charge of second-degree murder in Honolulu District Court, where his bail was confirmed at $500,000. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Wednesday.
Problems between the two men may have stemmed from Ratzlaff’s conflicts with Campiformio’s stepfather, for whom the victim worked.
A 50-year-old man, who rents space to store his boat from Campiformio, told police he heard screaming for a short while, then silence coming from the shipping container used by the landlord and Ratzlaff to store tools.
He described the sound as “gruesome, as if someone was being killed,” a police affidavit said.
The boat owner went to Campiformio and asked him whether he heard the screaming.
The landlord denied hearing anything. The boat owner then demanded he open the container, which he did, and lying inside was Ratzlaff’s dead body, a police affidavit said.
Campiformio showed no emotion, never touched the body and walked away to the rear of his house, the boat owner said.
The officer, who was led to the body at about 12:39 p.m., described the lifeless man sitting in a pool of blood, his shirt and shorts soaked in blood, and the two container doors spattered with blood.
Campiformio is listed in Honolulu property tax records as the owner of the 2-acre agricultural lot on Ahaolelo Road where the body was found.
He told the boat owner he and Ratzlaff had been moving tables and chairs that morning.
Campiformio told police he didn’t know how it happened, and suggested Ratzlaff may have been depressed or angry because he didn’t like Hawaii and his girlfriend had left him.
Campiformio’s 26-year-old girlfriend told police when her boyfriend used methamphetamine, he often was not himself and could “be threatening to almost anyone.”
She also told a detective that Ratzlaff worked in construction with Campiformio’s stepfather, Maurice Skerrit, whom she described as not a good person.
Ratzlaff’s uncle, Bruce Ratzlaff, told police his nephew had been living on Campiformio’s property for about a year and that he had been having money trouble with Skerritt.
Ratzlaff’s friend Ikaika Freitas said Ratzlaff told him that he argued with Skerritt because of his unsavory business practices.
Skerritt would take money from clients to purchase supplies but failed to buy the supplies, Freitas said.
He also told police that Campiformio had gotten into confrontations with Ratzlaff, and in one instance kicked him while he was in his vehicle.
He added Ratzlaff told him Campiformio acted strangely when he was on drugs.
Police found and took into evidence a garbage bag, apparently used as a poncho, hanging from a clothesline, which the boat owner described the landlord as having worn earlier that day, and a pair of bloodstained cargo shorts hanging nearby.
Campiformio was taken in for questioning and arrested that afternoon on suspicion of second-degree murder.
Star-Advertiser reporter Rosemarie Bernardo contributed to this report.
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