In Brief | Big Island & State | 2-6-14


Police searching for man sought on warrant

Hawaii Island police are searching for a 50-year-old man who is wanted on a $500 bench warrant.

Cedric Pulgados is also wanted for questioning in connection with an unrelated case, according to the Hawaii County Police Department

Pulgados is 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing 240 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes, according to police. He has no permanent address but is known to frequent the Hilo area.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts should call the department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311.

Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Judiciary warns of email scam

The Hawaii State Judiciary has received multiple reports of an email scam, officials said Tuesday.

The apparent scam involves emails purporting to come from the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals being sent to individuals worldwide, according to the Judiciary. The email refers to a pretrial notice, stating that a complaint has been received and a court date has been set. The email then instructs the individual to click on a link to confirm details of the trial.

The Judiciary cautioned the public not to click on the link or respond to this email scam. In general, the public will not be contacted by the Hawaii State Judiciary for official business by email and it does not summon people to court electronically.

If you receive an email you are not sure about, contact the Hawaii State Judiciary Public Affairs Office at pao@courts.hawaii.gov or call 539-4909.

PTA opening areas to hunters this weekend

Army officials are opening several training areas for bow hunting on the Big Island from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Training areas 2, 10 and 11 will be open for bow hunting of mammals only. Hunters are allowed one pig, one goat and one sheep per day in keeping with state bag limits. Shooting sheep with blue collars is not permitted.

All hunters must check in and out at one of the following hunter’s check-in stations: Kilohana, located on Saddle Road between mile markers 43 and 44, or Puu Huluhulu, located at the intersection of Mauna Kea Access Road and Saddle Road near mile marker 28. Check out time is no later than 7:30 p.m. each day.

Hunting passes will be provided at the check-in stations beginning Friday after 5 p.m. These passes must be signed and placed on the vehicle’s dashboard. Hunters who do not have a signed hunting pass on their dashboard will be barred from hunting for 30 days.

Hunter access to training area 2 is through any of gates 1 to 5 on Highway 200, east side. Access to training areas 10 and 11 is through any of gates 1 to 6 on Highway 200, west side. Motorists should be advised that military vehicles may be traveling on old Saddle Road. Firearms, alcoholic beverages, all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes and recreational vehicles are not allowed in the training and hunting areas.

For more information, call PTA’s hunter hotline at 969-3474 or visit garrison.hawaii.army.mil/pta and click on the “Hunting” tab.

Craft brewers ask Hawaii lawmakers for tax break

HONOLULU — Hawaii’s small producers of beer, liquor and wine would see relief from some of the nation’s highest alcohol taxes under bills Hawaii lawmakers are considering.

Garrett Marrero, the founder of Maui Brewing Co., told a Senate committee that he pays more than $2 to the state for every case of beer he sells. That’s more than four times what his competitors in California pay and more than 10 times what he would pay in Oregon.

Marrero told lawmakers cutting the excise tax would allow small breweries to expand operations and add employees. He said the more beer the company produces, the more people it hires.

Marrero said 10 craft breweries operate in Hawaii and eight more are preparing to open in the coming year.

Man found guilty of murdering Honolulu woman, 81

HONOLULU — A man who claims he had sex with an 81-year-old Honolulu woman in 1989 but denies killing her has been convicted of her murder.

A jury found Gerald Austin guilty of second-degree murder Wednesday. Jurors will return to court in March for a hearing to determine if Austin deserves an enhanced sentence of life in prison without possibility for parole because of the victim’s age.

Edith Skinner’s killing remained a cold case until advances in DNA technology helped match evidence found on her body. In 2005, a criminalist re-examining the evidence found an unknown man’s semen, which in 2011 matched a sample from Austin in the Hawaii state DNA database.

Austin’s grandmother lived in Skinner’s Kalakaua Avenue apartment building, Prosecutor Scott Bell said. He was charged with second-degree murder in 2012.

Austin took the stand to say he had sex with a woman in his grandmother’s building but didn’t know whether the woman was Skinner, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Tuesday. During his opening statement, public defender Edward Aquino said the evidence would show Austin had sexual contact with Skinner but didn’t kill her. Aquino declined to comment after the verdict was announced.

Bell said it’s “reprehensible” Austin would suggest Skinner had consensual sex with a then-29-year-old stranger. “The defendant had to come up with an explanation” for his biological evidence showing up on Skinner’s body, Bell said.

Death after fall on cruise ship ruled accidental

HONOLULU — The death of an 87-year-old Utah man who died after falling on a Hawaii cruise ship has been ruled accidental.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported the medical examiner’s office conducted an autopsy, which determined James C. Harte of Salt Lake City died of a cranial cerebral injury caused by the fall last week.

Harte died at an Oahu hospital Friday, four days after the accident off the coast of Hawaii.

Harte was a passenger on the cruise ship Veendam when he fell and hit his head. Foul play is not suspected.

Woman’s car stolen while helping in Honolulu crash

HONOLULU — A woman said her car was stolen when she stopped to offer help in a Honolulu freeway crash.

Jennifer Jones said she was driving on the H-1 freeway Sunday when she saw a sport utility vehicle swerve and crash into a median. She said that while she was trying to help a bloodied woman hanging out of the passenger seat, the two other men in the SUV took off in Jones’ Mazda Miata.

Police arrived and told her the SUV was stolen. Jones’ phone helped locate her car about a mile away.

Hawaii News Now reported police arrested a 22-year-old man but are still looking for the man who ditched his injured girlfriend and used the Miata as a getaway car. KHON-TV reported the woman was treated at a hospital.

Former fighter pilot to lead Punchbowl cemetery

HONOLULU — The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is getting a new director.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported a former Air Force fighter pilot will become the new director of Punchbowl cemetery on March 9. James Horton will be responsible for all administrative, burial and maintenance operations at the Honolulu cemetery.

The 1983 Air Force Academy graduate formerly served in Hawaii as Pacific Air Forces inspector general and as the command’s assistant director for operations, plans, requirements and programs.

Horton has more than 4,200 flying hours in T-38, RF-4 and F-16 aircraft.

He retired from the U.S. Air Force as a colonel in 2011. He is currently the deputy inspector general at Air Education and Training Command at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph in Texas.

By local and wire sources