State briefs


Calif. tourist was in ‘trance’ when plea deal accepted

WAILUKU, Maui— A California man who pleaded no contest to manslaughter in the death of his girlfriend during a Maui vacation now says he’s willing to risk life in prison to change his plea.

Gerald Galaway testified Tuesday that he was in a “trance” and felt pressured when he accepted a plea agreement to the reduced manslaughter charge in the death of Celestial Cassman.

The Santa Cruz couple were vacationing last year when the attorney was killed. Galaway was originally charged with second-degree murder.

Galaway says he was under medication and was concerned about a financial burden of a trial on his family when he accepted the deal.

The Maui News reports the judge did not rule on the motion to change Galaway’s plea and continued the hearing to next week.

Kahuku residents upset over human skull’s storage

KAHUKU, Oahu — Kahuku Plantation residents are upset over the handling of a human skull found during vegetation clearing for construction of a road.

The residents plan a protest Wednesday. They say it’s insensitive to keep the human remains in a metal storage container on a construction site.

Property owner Continental Pacific LLC says the company is handling the skull pieces in accordance with directions from the state.

State Sen. Clayton Hee who represents the area tells the Honolulu Star-Advertiser ancient remains should be treated with sensitivity and that he’s concerned about how the skull is being stored.

Department of Land and Natural Resources spokeswoman Deborah Ward says in order to protect the skull, the cultural monitor was asked to store it in their trailer on site.

Hawaii elementary schools to be accredited by 2019

HONOLULU — The Hawaii Board of Education has approved a plan to accredit all public elementary schools by 2019.

Board Chairman Don Horner says the state department of education will use the same accreditation criteria as most private schools in Hawaii.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday the ambitious plan is aimed at providing schools with periodic, in-depth reviews.

Ninety-six of Hawaii’s public schools, including 13 elementary schools, have Western Association for Schools and Colleges accreditation.

The department hopes to have the 159 remaining elementary schools accredited by the association over a five-year period.

The program will cost about $745,000 a year, which includes providing training, extra support and guidance.

Charged Honolulu police major wants GPS device off

HONOLULU — A Honolulu police major facing federal extortion charges is asking that his GPS monitoring device be removed from his ankle for medical reasons.

Carlton Nishimura faces federal charges of extortion, lying to investigators, witness tampering and drug possession. He is awaiting trial.

A Wednesday hearing is scheduled for his motion to modify conditions of pretrial release.

Federal Public Defender Peter Wolff’s motion asks that the GPS requirement be eliminated because of a doctor’s letter saying it’s contributing to a condition that requires medication that has a negative effect on Nishimura’s cognition.

The motion says he needs to eventually get off the medication to prepare for trial.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Muehleck opposes eliminating GPS monitoring, noting that he is already allowed to leave his parents’ Waianae home for special reasons.