Alleged thief awaits extradition
The former chief executive officer of RightStar Hawaii Management Inc. is awaiting extradition from Oregon to Hawaii to answer to a criminal charge that he misappropriated funds that belonged to a number of cemetery and funeral customers.
Polk County Sheriff deputies arrested John Dooley on a bench warrant Sunday. An Oahu grand jury returned an indictment Dec. 12, 2006, charging Dooley with first-degree theft.
Dooley formed RightStar in 2001 to purchase and operate a number of Hawaii cemeteries and funeral businesses that were in bankruptcy. They include Valley of the Temples on Oahu, Homelani and Kona Memorial Parks on the Big Island and Maui Memorial Park.
The state attorney general opened civil and criminal investigations of RightStar in 2004 because of financial trouble at those facilities. The state now supervises the operation of the memorial parks.
The indictment accuses Dooley of misappropriating funds from customers from Dec. 29, 2003, through Jan. 6, 2004.
Killing suspect found dead in cell
A 53-year-old former real estate agent, awaiting trial in the murder of his wife, was found hanging in his cell at about 4:30 a.m. Saturday at the Oahu Community Correctional Center, a Department of Public Safety spokeswoman said.
Danny Tan Lam had been alone in a cell, and part of the general population, when adult corrections officers discovered him hanging, said Public Safety spokeswoman Louise Kim McCoy.
Emergency Medical Services arrived at the scene, and a physician pronounced Lam dead at 5:01 a.m.
Lam had been on suicide watch after his incarceration in 2005.
Police and Public Safety Internal Affairs are investigating, as is standard procedure.
Lam was arrested in June 2005 after admitting to killing his wife, Melody Lam, 41, at their Kapahulu house.
He had been on suicide watch until he was returned to the general population in 2007, said his attorney, Howard Luke.
Luke said Lam was under a delusional belief system, and had been under a lot of stress and depressed, which was being controlled by medication at OCCC.
However, Lam was well liked by inmates and staff alike, Luke said. "Had it not been for his mental illness, this would not have happened," Luke said.
Scientist to speak at conference
Justin Ichida, Hawaii-born research scientist at the Harvard University Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, will be the speaker at a Lou Gehrig's disease seminar from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Queen's Conference Center.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is a disorder that destroys the nerve cells that control voluntary muscles. Muscles become progressively weaker until paralyzed, and death usually occurs within three to five years.
The cause is not known and no cure has been found.
May is ALS Awareness Month, which the Muscular Dystrophy Association observes with a seminar to increase awareness about the disease and services in its ALS Division.
Ichida will discuss the latest research on stem cells for regenerative medicine.
Also speaking will be Dr. Jayson Takata, MDA clinic co-director, and Jennifer Li, MDA health care services coordinator.
Vendors will have tax, insurance, legal, travel and medical equipment presentations.
For more information about the seminar, call the MDA Honolulu office, 593-4454. See www.als-mda.org for information about MDA's ALS Division.
DOE solicits opinions on budget
The state Department of Education is seeking public feedback to help it prepare its budget request for the 2009-2011 fiscal biennium.
Parents, students, school employees and the public have until May 31 to complete an 11-question survey posted on the Education Department's Web site.
It asks participants whether they are satisfied with public schools, students' educational progress and facilities, and allows them to list five areas of highest need.
The survey is available at www.doe.k12.hi.us/. Results will be posted online by June 30.
Police, Fire, Courts
Police pursuit leads to 2 arrests
Police arrested two men Tuesday after their vehicle allegedly sideswiped an officer's car.
Police said witnesses saw the men, ages 30 and 32, break into a car in Mililani. They left the scene in another car, and witnesses called 911 with a description, police said.
Officers in Wahiawa tried to stop the men, who reversed and sideswiped an officer's car while trying to flee, then crashed into a wall and fled on foot, police said.
Officers arrested the men later on suspicion of breaking into a vehicle, outstanding warrants and other misdemeanor violations.
Suspects allegedly tied to murder case
Law enforcement officers arrested three suspects yesterday who were indicted Tuesday on charges stemming from a burglary plot that ended in the killing of 27-year-old Benjamin Grajeda on Kaneohe Bay Drive last May.
Reginald Pettway, 30, was arrested yesterday by U.S. marshals in Mobile, Ala., and is awaiting extradition to Honolulu, said Jim Fulton, spokesman for the city Prosecutor's Office.
Pettway was on probation for a felony drug offense in Alabama, and had violated parole by traveling to Hawaii in May.
Police arrested Melissa Ordonez, 22, at the Oahu Community Correctional Center yesterday morning on charges of being an accomplice to first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and kidnapping.
Police also arrested Jerrico Dewon Lindsey, 27, at OCCC at 12:20 p.m. yesterday on charges of second-degree murder, for which bail was set at $3 million. He was also arrested on firearm, kidnapping, first-degree terroristic threatening, first-degree burglary and first-degree robbery charges.
Police and prosecutors say Ordonez allegedly arranged for Pettway, Lindsey and William Lee Freeman Jr. to steal money and drugs from Grajeda's home. When he returned home unexpectedly, the three men allegedly beat him up and threw him into their car trunk. When Grajeda escaped, they allegedly gunned him down.
Freeman pleaded guilty last week to charges relating to this case. He had originally been charged with kidnapping and hindering prosecution.
Suspect surrenders after sex assault
A 22-year-old Nanakuli man surrendered to police Tuesday for allegedly sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy.
The man allegedly sexually assaulted the boy from midnight Monday to 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.
He later turned himself in at the Kapolei Police Station.
Police arrested on him two counts of third-degree sexual assault.