Suspect allegedly threatens witness
A Big Isle man also faces charges from an alleged plot to kill two police officers
HILO » A Big Island man accused of threatening to kill two police officers and their families faces an additional charge of intimidating a witness by making a shooting gesture at him.
Police filed threat charges Friday against Francis Omega Carter, 37, known as "Adobo," saying he planned to kill two members of the Police Department's Ice Task Force. Carter was already facing two charges related to methamphetamine plus two charges of drug paraphernalia but was free on $100,000 bail.
Appearing yesterday in Hilo District Court, Carter was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing in which prosecutors would have to show they have enough evidence to support the threat charges. Police have not revealed how detailed Carter's alleged murder plans were, and testimony was expected to shed light on that.
But Carter's attorney, Chris Bertelmann, asked Judge Matthew Pyun to delay the hearing to give Bertelmann more time to prepare. Pyun reset the hearing for July 14.
A police document filed by Deputy Prosecutor Jason Skier also revealed that Carter, while in the Hawaii Community Correctional Center on Monday, made a shooting gesture at another inmate who had disclosed the alleged murder plot to authorities.
"The victim was afraid to testify and feared for his life," the document says.
The document says Carter claimed the charge is racially motivated. "I'm black, and he's a white guy from the mainland," the document quotes him.
Carter, 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing 320 pounds, according to the document, entered the courtroom smiling and joking with guards, and as many as 20 family members and friends in the court.
Security was tight. In addition to the three guards who are normally in the court, at least six other guards accompanied Carter.
As lawyers began discussing the case with the judge, Carter missed a point and asked Pyun, "What about the new case I'm charged with?" Pyun told him the item had already been handled.
After the brief proceedings, as Carter walked down a hallway with the six guards to an elevator, he called out, "I'm innocent."
A woman among his supporters shouted, "Corruption in the police department."
With bail set at $100,000 for the original drug charges, each of the two threat charges and the new intimidation charge, his bail now totals $400,000. He is being held at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center.