A District Court judge declined to lower bail for a 38-year-old man charged with manslaughter following his 3-year-old son’s death.
Pedro Peter made his first court appearance Monday morning, before Judge Joseph Florendo. Peter made no comments to the judge. His attorney, Public Defender Noah Gibson, asked Florendo to lower the bail amount from $52,000 to $5,000 or $10,000, because that’s what Peter and his family could afford.
About a dozen family members and supporters attended the brief hearing.
“He has a lot of family here to support him,” Gibson said, adding while Peter is in jail he is “unable to help with funeral arrangements.”
Gibson said Peter is “not a risk to society.”
The deputy prosecuting attorney handling the case opposed lowering bail, noting Peter had previously failed to appear in court on traffic charges.
Peter was charged Friday with driving without a license, failure to have no-fault insurance, four counts of failure to have a child restraint and three counts of endangering the welfare of a minor, in addition to the manslaughter charge.
The child, Joel Peter, died Thursday evening at Kona Community Hospital, after he was apparently run over by a pickup truck Pedro Peter was driving near the Matsuyama Food Mart driveway off Mamalahoa Highway. The father apparently unknowingly struck the youngster who had fallen out of the truck’s cab.
Police said the boy’s sister apparently thought their father had parked the truck and subsequently opened the rear passenger door, at which time the boy fell out of the vehicle.
The father, not knowing his son was outside the truck, continued up the driveway and ran over the child.
Florendo set a preliminary hearing for 1 p.m. Wednesday.