POSTED: Thursday, August 06, 2009

Man indicted in shooting death of seal

A federal grand jury indicted a 78-year-old Kauai man yesterday on charges of killing a Hawaiian monk seal on May 21, a violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Charles Vidinha faces up to a year in jail and a $50,000 fine.

National Marine Fisheries Service officials recovered the body of the pregnant monk seal at the remote Pilaa Beach on Kauai's north shore after bystanders discovered it. It had been shot in the head.

A source close to the investigation said the animal was shot multiple times with a .22-caliber firearm.

County, state, and federal agencies assisted in the investigation, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Kauai Police Department and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.


326 cited under cell-phone ban

During the first month since the city prohibited motorists from using cell phones while driving, 326 drivers were cited and 58 were issued warnings, according to police records.

The city ordinance went into effect July 1.

Violators face a fine of $67 if convicted of using a cellular phone, text messaging device, paging device, personal digital assistant, laptop computer, video game or digital photographic device while driving.

However, drivers are allowed to use a “;hands-free”; device to talk on their cellular phones.

Hawaii is one of five states along with the District of Columbia that require drivers who talk on cell phones to use hands-free devices.

Texting is banned in 14 states.


Abercrombie funding move opposed

Mayor Mufi Hannemann's campaign for governor is trying to block U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie from using $900,000 in campaign donations collected in past federal campaigns for his run for governor.

Abercrombie's campaign noted that Hannemann had transferred money from his mayoral campaign treasury to his planned race for governor.

“;Now he is trying to stop Neil Abercrombie from doing the same thing,”; said Abercrombie campaign spokes- woman Laurie Au.

The Campaign Spending Commission is expected to decide at its Tuesday meeting whether state law allows federal campaign money to be used in state campaigns. The Abercrombie campaign has argued that state law does not specifically prohibit it and for the commission to block it would be creating a new state law.


Grand jury indicts murder suspect

The state says Phillip Dejesus Deleon shot 35-year-old Shawn Powell in the chest from just three feet away in the parking lot of a Keeaumoku-area karaoke bar parking lot early Friday.

The gunshot punctured Powell's heart; he bled to death.

Deleon, 33, is in custody awaiting trial for Powell's murder, unable to post $2 million bail.

An Oahu grand jury returned an indictment yesterday, charging him with second-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, second-degree attempted murder and firearm crimes.

The indictment charged Deleon with attempted murder because Deleon shot at one of Powell's friends in the same incident, said Vickie Kapp, deputy prosecutor.

Police arrested Deleon at Honolulu Airport as he was about to catch a flight to Portland, Ore., Kapp said.


Man faces assault, pimping charges

An Oahu grand jury returned an indictment yesterday charging a 28-year-old Waikiki man with forcing or trying to force two women into prostitution by beating up, threatening or holding them against their will.

The indictment charges Charles Abraham Cocklin II with first- and second-degree assault, kidnapping, first-degree terroristic threatening, first-degree attempted promoting prostitution, second-degree promoting prostitution and first-degree attempted extortion.

Cocklin remains in custody, unable to post $250,000 bail.

A state judge in California has issued a warrant for Cocklin's arrest. He is on parole in California for violating the terms of his release on a felony, Kapp said.


Lingle to attend GOP govs' meeting

Gov. Linda Lingle will travel to the mainland to attend a meeting of the Republican Governors Association.

Lingle's office said yesterday that she is taking vacation days today and tomorrow, the first day of the three-day meeting in Idaho.

Lingle's itinerary calls for her to take personal time on the mainland from Monday through Aug. 17 before resuming her schedule Aug. 18.

According to the Governor's Office, Lingle is paying for all of her expenses, including travel and accommodations.



Army destroys bomb rancher found in Kauai

KIPU, Hawaii » Army explosives experts sent to Kauai destroyed a recently discovered artillery shell that officials say was probably used in training during World War II.

Kauai police say the shell measuring 20 inches in length and 5 1/2 inches in diameter was found in Kilohana Crater by a rancher who was clearing his leased land with a bulldozer.

The rancher, William Fleming, notified police, who contacted the 706th Explosive Ordnance Company at Schofield Barracks on Oahu for assistance.

Two members of the unit, Sgt. Aaron Smeathers and Pfc. Douglas Shotts, arrived on Kauai on Tuesday afternoon. They set up explosives next to the shell and then detonated the round by remote control.