In Brief | Big Island & State | 1-24-14


Pot farmer sentenced to 20 years

A 61-year-old Glenwood man who built and operated a sophisticated underground commercial marijuana farm was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years in prison.

Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura told Charles “Chuck” Lanham that if he served three-and-a-half years in prison without being paroled, Nakamura would consider granting him probation at that time, if still on the bench. Nakamura’s term expires April 17 but he has petitioned the Judicial Selection Commission for another 10-year term.

Lanham pleaded guilty Nov. 22 to first-degree commercial promotion of marijuana, a Class A felony. Several other drug- and paraphernalia-related charges were dropped in exchange for his plea. Lanham’s partner, 68-year-old Linda Lee Stallings, also faces commercial promotion charges, but it is expected that the state will drop charges against her as part of Lanham’s plea deal.

The couple was arrested Feb. 28, 2013, after police and state Narcotics Enforcement Division agents raided their property and recovered more than 500 marijuana plants measuring between 3 and 4 feet tall, about 10 pounds of dried marijuana and a small amount of hashish from the underground bunker and surrounding property.

PTA to open areas for archery hunting

Army officials will open several training areas at Pohakuloa Training Area for archery hunting between 5 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Training areas 2, 10 and 11 will be open for archery hunting of mammals only, according to the Army. Hunting is subject to state hunting rules and bag limit. No live game may be removed from any hunting area.

All hunters must check in and check out at either Kilohana, on Saddle Road between mile markers 43 and 44, or Puu Huluhulu, at the intersection of Mauna Kea Access Road and Saddle Road, hunter’s check-in stations. Check out is no later than 7:30 p.m. each day. No access before 5 a.m. is allowed.

Hunter access to training area 2 is through gates 1 through 5 on Saddle Road. Access to training areas 10 and 11 is through gates 1 through 6 on Saddle Road.

Firearms, alcoholic beverages, all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes and recreational vehicles are not allowed in the training and hunting areas. Smoking and open flames are also prohibited.

For more information, including a map of the hunting areas, visit garrison.hawaii.army.mil/pta and click on “News Releases.”

High winds, surf pummel state

HONOLULU — High winds and huge surf have been pummeling the Hawaiian Islands this week, with gusts blowing off roofs, downing power lines and causing a tree limb to fall and kill a golfer visiting from Japan.

The 55-year-old golfer was struck in the head by a tree limb Wednesday at Leilehua Golf Course, an Army facility at Wahiawa, Oahu, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. The course was closed until further notice, and the incident is being investigated, the Army said.

Also Wednesday, the largest swell in a decade arrived on Oahu, and water flooded the Haleiwa Boat Harbor’s parking lot during the morning high tide. A commercial fisherman there at the time reported the water rose past his knees and came in as surges as massive waves outside the jetty pushed water into the harbor.

A groundwater advisory was also issued for the Kihei, Oahu, area and Honokahua Bay on Maui.

Meanwhile, high winds across the islands led to electrical outages and road closures.

On Tuesday, winds were clocked at 54 mph at Waianae Valley, Oahu, and 45 mph in Kahuku, Oahu. Winds were howling at 80 to 100 mph Wednesday on island summits. The Honolulu Fire Department received calls for blown roofs, fallen trees or branches and downed power lines.

The Mauna Kea Weather Center in a 24-hour period spanning through Thursday afternoon registered maximum winds of 112 mph, according to its website. The Mauna Kea Access Road remained closed at the Visitor Information Station because of high winds at the summit, including gusts topping 95 mph.

Hawaii shark expert pleads guilty to child porn possession

HONOLULU — A prominent Hawaii shark expert pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography.

Randy Honebrink pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Honolulu. Honebrink is an educational coordinator for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources who is often interviewed by the media when there’s a shark attack.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Darren Ching said Honebrink in a plea agreement admitted to possessing the images.

Defense attorney William Harrison said the two photographs involved are of two people younger than 18 in sexually explicit poses. Harrison said his client remains employed by DLNR.

A DLNR spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Honebrink faces up to 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced May 19.

Lawsuit claims boys molested at Maui Mormon camps

HONOLULU — A lawsuit alleges a Mormon church camp coordinator molested boys who were picking pineapples on Maui.

Jacob Huggard and Kyle Spray said they were molested by a coordinator who oversaw hundreds of boys at a camp from 1986 to 1988. Both men are now living in Pleasant Grove, Utah.

According to the lawsuit filed Wednesday, the church recruited hundreds of teen boys from Utah and southeastern Idaho to work in Maui pineapple fields in the 1970s and 1980s. The camps closed in the 1990s.

The church said in a statement that it doesn’t tolerate abuse and works actively to prevent it. The church said it “will examine the allegations and respond appropriately.”

The lawsuit is possible because of a Hawaii law that suspends sex abuse statute of limitations until April.

Maui plays role in reforming Mongolian courts

WAILUKU, Maui — Eight prosecutors from Mongolia are using Maui courts to learn about the U.S. judicial system.

Mongolia Assistant Prosecutor General Ganzorig Gombosuren said elements of the court system that are commonly known in the United States are foreign to prosecutors in his isolated Asian country.

The group is in Hawaii learning about court matters such as Miranda rights and why defendants are often found guilty and sentenced at separate hearings.

The Maui News reported the visitors want to incorporate some of the U.S. court system into Mongolian law. The group is heading to Honolulu on Thursday.

The group is being hosted by retired 2nd Circuit Chief Judge Shackley Raffetto, who has traveled to Mongolia.

Man sentenced in traffic death of Honolulu officer

HONOLULU — A 22-year-old Maili, Oahu, man has been sentenced to one year in jail in the traffic death of a Honolulu police officer.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported James Dorsey was sentenced Wednesday by a state judge.

Dorsey was accused in the fatal running over of officer Eric Fontes in September 2011 at a traffic stop near Ko Olina.

The sentence imposed is the maximum jail term for third-degree negligent homicide.

Dorsey was convicted by a jury in October of misdemeanor neglect homicide for causing the death.

He also was convicted of felony negligent injury for injuring officer Herman “Sam” Scanlan in the same incident. A judge threw out that verdict, saying it conflicted with the negligent homicide verdict.

By local and wire sources