Ex-colleagues paint scary portrait of murder suspect
Former co-workers of an accused killer are questioning how a man with an extensive if petty criminal history was able to work as a security guard for a military hotel.
Patrick Deguair Jr., 30, was charged earlier this month in the execution-style death of Jermaine Duckworth, a 24-year-old former convict who was shot in the back of the head March 27.
Deguair had been arrested 38 times and was convicted of misdemeanors in 2004, including criminal trespass and resisting an order to stop. He also was tried for attempted murder in 2001 but was found innocent.
"We're supposed to be held to a higher standard," said Jeff Kucera, a former security officer with Hale Koa Hotel, where Deguair also was a security officer. "We're working with security, we're dealing with people on a federal level. He shouldn't have been at that job."
The beachfront Hale Koa in Waikiki is a hotel and recreation facility for military members, retirees and their families. Management did not respond to calls for comment.
Deguair's attorney, Michael Green, said he had heard of concerns about whether his client was properly hired at the hotel, but does not know whether any official action was taken by management since it does not affect the current accusations.
Christian Caparoso, a former duty manager for security at the hotel, said Deguair was "overzealous" in his work and launched personal investigations into other employees.
"He would harass housekeepers, following them around because he felt they were taking stuff from the rooms," Caparoso said. "He stalked me, too, asking a lot of questions about me to my employees and trying to find dirt on me."
Both men said Deguair would often use security cameras to follow employees' movements throughout the hotel, which they said is unethical.
"He would utilize the cameras, and he would stand in dark places to watch us," Kucera said. "That wasn't our job. He was in everybody's business. People were afraid of him."
They also accuse Deguair of being temperamental, intimidating, verbally abusive and threatening to other employees.
Kucera filed a grievance with management and the Pentagon inspector general, Claude M. "Mick" Kicklighter, a retired lieutenant general and former commander of U.S. Army Pacific and the 25th Infantry Division. Nothing came of either filing, he said.
In his grievance, Kucera wrote, "I am extremely concerned for my personal safety and the safety of all employees in the hotel."
Deguair was indicted with attempted first- and second-degree murder in a November 2001 drive-by shooting on Nanilihilihi Place. He was accused of trying to provoke a fight with two men and firing a handgun in their direction.
Witnesses said at the time that they feared him because he was known to carry a concealed pistol.
However, the court found reasonable doubt and a "lack of credible testimony." Witnesses initially identified Deguair's friend as the shooter, and none saw Deguair fire the shots.
In the most recent case, a witness identified Deguair as the person who restrained Duckworth and drove him to an area near Yokohama Bay on the Waianae Coast. Using a silencer, Deguair allegedly shot Duckworth in the back of the head and pushed him off a cliff several yards away from the beach.
Deguair is now being held in lieu of $1 million bail. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, kidnapping, possession of a silencer and firearm and drug violations.
Kucera and Caparoso both resigned from the hotel in 2006 and last year, respectively, because of what they alleged to be inaction from management to deal with Deguair's behavior, among other issues. They both live in Nevada now.
Caparoso said the stalking and unprovoked accusations gave him chills and had him fearing for his safety. He said he was not surprised when he found out Deguair was accused of murder.
"I actually tried to avoid him the whole time he was there," he said. "I was thinking, 'Something's going to blow over and it's going to get ugly.'"