Defendant in slaying will testify in plea deal
One of the defendants charged in connection with last year's execution-style killing in the middle of Kaneohe Bay Drive has agreed to testify against the other defendants in the case, according to his plea agreement with the state.
William Lee Freeman Jr., 36, is charged with kidnapping and hindering prosecution in connection with the May 14, 2007, death of Benjamin Grajeda.
Freeman agreed to plead guilty to the two crimes, cooperate with police and prosecutors and testify at trial. He also agreed to accept the maximum prison terms of 10 years and five years, respectively.
In return, the Honolulu prosecutor promised not to seek any more charges against Freeman based on his testimony and agreed not to ask the court for longer prison terms or to ask that Freeman serve them back-to-back. The prosecutor has also promised not to ask the court to impose a minimum amount of prison time Freeman must serve before he is eligible for parole but will be free to make a recommendation to the Hawaii Paroling Authority based on the level of Freeman's assistance.
Prosecutor Peter Carlisle and Deputy Prosecutor Rom Trader signed the agreement April 18. Freeman and his lawyer, Richard Gronna, signed it April 23.
Honolulu police the next day arrested Melissa Ann Ordonez, 22, on suspicion of kidnapping and robbery in connection with Grajeda's murder and Jerrico Dewon Lindsey, 27, for allegedly attempting to bribe a witness in the case. Lindsey was already in custody awaiting trial in the murder case.
On April 29, an Oahu grand jury returned an indictment charging Lindsey with second-degree murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery, kidnapping, terroristic threatening and firearm offenses. The indictment also charges Reginald Pettway, 30, and Ordonez with participating or assisting in the burglary, robbery and kidnapping.
The indictment does not mention Freeman. Freeman and Lindsey have been in pretrial custody at Oahu Community Correctional Center since last year.
The prison received a court order to separate Freeman and Lindsey, said Louise Kim McCoy, state Department of Public Safety spokeswoman. However, they were never cellmates, she said.
When the grand jury returned the indictment, the prosecutor said Freeman had already pleaded guilty to charges related to the case. However, there is no record of the guilty plea, plea agreement or order to separate Freeman and Lindsey at OCCC in the court record.
The agreement was included in more than 7,000 pages of trial discovery material the prosecutor forwarded to the defense lawyers.
Circuit Judge Steven Alm on Monday pushed back the trial to Jan. 12 to give the lawyers for Pettway and Ordonez time to prepare their clients' defense. The trial had been scheduled to begin next month.
Police and prosecutors said Ordonez arranged for Freeman, Lindsey and Pettway to steal money and drugs from Grajeda's Puuohalai Place home after she sent him on an errand. When Grajeda returned early, they beat him and put him in the trunk of Lindsey's car. As the car was traveling on Kaneohe Bay Drive, Grajeda escaped, according to court documents. Witnesses said Lindsey fired shots from a handgun as he chased after Grajeda, then shot him in the back execution style when he caught up with his victim.