In brief | Big Island & State | 1-28-14

Police locate men reported missing

Big Island police have located two men who were reported missing.

Pahoa resident Johannen Poche, 77, returned home Friday afternoon while Honokaa resident William Kennedy Jr., 56, was found unharmed Saturday, according to the Hawaii Police Department.

Puna man missing

Big Island police are searching for a 72-year-old Puna man who was reported missing.

Yukiwo Tara was last seen at his Hawaiian Paradise Park home on Friday. Tara is described as Micronesian, 5-foot-4, weighing 200 pounds, and having with brown eyes and salt-and-pepper hair. He was last seen wearing blue pants, a T-shirt and white shoes. He was also using a cane, according to the Hawaii Police Department.

Tara has a medical condition that requires medication. Anyone with information on his whereabouts should call the Police Department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311. Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona.

Police recover marijuana, plants from Puna home

Big Island police have charged one man and released another following their arrests during the execution of a marijuana search warrant last week in the Hawaiian Acres subdivision in Puna.

Vice officers served the search warrant Friday morning at a home on Road 1, where they recovered 151 marijuana plants, 168.5 grams of dried processed marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to the Hawaii Police Department.

Two residents, including 45-year-old Raymond Eastridge, were arrested at the scene and taken to the South Hilo police cellblock while detectives continued the investigation.

Eastridge was charged with second-degree promoting marijuana, second-degree promoting a detrimental drug, third-degree promoting a detrimental drug and possessing drug paraphernalia. His bail was set at $7,250. He remained at the cellblock until his initial court appearance Monday afternoon.

After conferring with prosecutors, the other man was released without charges, police said.

Unemployment rate climbs to 4.5 percent

HONOLULU — Hawaii’s unemployment rate rose to a seasonally adjusted 4.5 percent last month.

The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations said Monday the jobless rate edged 0.1 percentage point higher from 4.4 percent in November.

The department said the trade, transportation and utilities sector lost jobs during December as did educational and health services.

The construction and hospitality industries both added jobs.

Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 6.7 percent last month, down from 7 percent in November.

Trial begins in 1989 murder of woman, 81

HONOLULU — A prosecutor says bruises found on an 81-year-old Honolulu woman helped a medical examiner determine she had been strangled.

But prosecutor Scott Bell says the 1989 killing remained unsolved until advances in DNA technology helped match evidence found on Edith Skinner’s body with a man whose grandmother lived in her building.

Gerald Austin’s trial began Monday with Bell telling jurors the case had long gone cold before Austin was charged with second-degree murder in 2012.

Bell said then-28-year-old Austin wasn’t considered a suspect at the time and remained “hiding in plain sight for more than two decades.”

Public defender Edward Aquino told jurors Austin had sexual contact with Skinner but didn’t kill her. He said the question of who killed Skinner will remain unanswered at the end of the trial.

Man accused of impersonating officer

HONOLULU — Authorities say they’ve arrested a 35-year-old man who is accused of impersonating a police officer and threatening two men at a Waikiki hotel.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser said the man was arrested Saturday evening on suspicion of first-degree terroristic threatening and second-degree impersonating a law enforcement officer.

Police said the man threatened 24- and a 27-year-old men at the Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk hotel.

The suspect, whose name was not immediately available, reportedly operates a Big Island bail bonds company.

By local and wires sources