Tuesday, February 23, 1999



Feary left
suicide note
expressing anger

The musician, denied a return
to drug treatment, 'was angry
at the system'

By Gregg K. Kakesako
Star-Bulletin

Tapa

Entertainer Bryant "Mackey" Feary Jr., who hanged himself Saturday in his Halawa prison cell, left a suicide note expressing anger at the system.

Feary, 43, one of the founding members of the musical group Kalapana, was sent back to Halawa Correctional Facility Jan. 21 and sentenced to 10 years for criminal property damage and drug convictions.

He appealed and requested that he be returned to a drug residential program, but acting Circuit Judge Fa'auuga To'oto'o rejected the plea.

Feary had been taken to Halawa's Reception Assessment Diagnostic Unit, where he shared a cell with two other inmates.

State Public Safety Director Ted Sakai said Feary was supposed to be there for at least 45 days while his case was being evaluated. He probably would have remained there longer because of the crowded conditions at the prison.

Sakai said he didn't know if Halawa officials were aware of the entertainer's previous attempt to hang himself. Feary had attempted suicide in 1996 at the Pearl City substation.

"The medical people (at Halawa) assessed his situation," Sakai said, "and felt he was not suicidal."

Sakai said Feary left a short note addressed to certain individuals whom Sakai declined to identify.

"He was angry at the system," Sakai said.

He said Feary wasn't placed under any type of suicide watch because he hadn't displayed any such tendencies. "That decision has to be made by a medical doctor or a psychiatrist," Sakai said.

Feary used a bed sheet to hang himself after his two cellmates left for lunch. He was found at 12:45 p.m.

The city medical examiner's office is conducting toxicology tests which could take up to eight weeks.

Feary was placed on probation in 1996 for damaging a car in Waimalu and for possessing crystal methamphetamine and an "ice" pipe.

Last October, he failed a drug test but was allowed to complete a drug residential treatment program. But on Jan. 21, Judge To'oto'o was told that Feary failed another drug test and had been released from the treatment program.

Despite two other suicide hangings in Hawaii's prison system, Sakai believes they are unrelated. "All three happened in three different facilities."

Besides Feary, Dale Wester, 34, also hung himself with a bed sheet in his cell at the Maui Community Correctional Center Jan. 25.

Farrington Governor Santos, 25, was found by another inmate after he hanged himself at the Oahu Community Correctional Center Feb. 11. He was awaiting trial for participating in the holdup of a Wahiawa convenience store.

Two other inmates recently died at Halawa, but their deaths were not ruled as suicides.

Sakai said deaths such as Feary, Santos and Wester are tragic.

"But if these guys really planned to do it (suicide), it's hard to stop it.

"The ACOs (adult corrections officers really try their best to prevent such occurrences. They don't like them either. . . . Sometimes it's not possible to stop it."

Feary's cell was not under the direct observation of any officers, Sakai said.

He said prison health care officials are reviewing their policies and whether staffing is adequate at Halawa.

Services planned

Funeral services for Feary will be held March 6 at Hawaiian Memorial Park. Visitation starts at 8:30 a.m., with services at 12:30 p.m. Burial will be at 3 p.m. at Hawaiian Memorial Park Cemetery. Aloha attire recommended.

Survivors include a son, Sebastian; parents Bryant and Renee Feary of Nashville, Tenn., and Edwin Uyehara; five brothers, Isiah Frank and Rodney Feary, and Tony, Nicholas and Vincent Formosa; and three sisters, Dancetta Kamai, Alison Lopez and Tyanne Formosa.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Sebastian Feary Trust Fund, 1617 Kapiolani Blvd., #1204; Honolulu, 96814.



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