POSTED: Saturday, September 26, 2009

Convicted murderer denied new trial

HILO » A man convicted of murder 14 years ago has been denied a new trial by Big Island Circuit Judge Glenn Hara.

Thirty-six-year-old Tad Mason is serving a life sentence plus 20 years for the 1991 kidnapping and slaying of 23-year-old Juliana “;Trish”; Laysa.

Mason's chief accuser was John Perez III, who is also serving life in prison for his part in the killing. Mason has contended it was Perez who killed Laysa in a cane field near Alae Cemetery.

Perez had said Mason called himself “;The Prince of Darkness.”;

Mason maintains the moniker contributed to a pretrial media frenzy that prejudiced his ability to get a fair trial in Hilo.

Hara rejected the argument Thursday, saying a fair and impartial jury had been found for the 1995 trial.

8 rescued during high north swell

Honolulu lifeguards performed eight rescues and issued 1,200 verbal warnings to beachgoers by yesterday afternoon during an out-of-season swell on the North Shore yesterday, the city Ocean Safety Division reported.

The National Weather Service issued a high-surf advisory yesterday as waves with 12- to 15-foot faces came ashore.

The surf was expected to decrease to 6 to 10 feet this morning.

Seminar offers tips to deal with grief

St. Francis Hospice and the Hawaii Donor Family Council will offer practical suggestions at a workshop Oct. 17 to help people dealing with grief.

The event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Koolau Golf Club, 45-550 Kionaole Road, Kaneohe.

Felicia Marquez-Wong, bereavement services manager at St. Francis Hospice, said the workshop “;is designed to give grieving persons, their family and friends comfort, support and practical tips for dealing with grief during the holidays.

“;But the most important thing is to take care of yourself,”; she added.

Caroline Sakai, a psychologist of the Thought Field Therapy Center, and Shellie Fielden, certified educational kinesiologist and owner of Edu-K Brain Gym, will give presentations.

The cost is $55 per person for those registering by Friday. It is $65 after that. Lunch, refreshments and workshop materials are included.

Make checks payable to the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii and send payment to Grief Workshop, c/o Louis Pohl Gallery, 1111 Nuuanu Ave., Honolulu 96817.

For more information, call Sandy Pohl at 521-1812 or Marquez-Wong at 547-8145.

Kaneohe-bound Likelike to be closed

The Kaneohe-bound lanes of Likelike Highway between Valley View Drive in Kalihi Valley and Kahekili Highway in Kaneohe will be closed from 7 p.m. today to 7 a.m. tomorrow for tunnel cleaning and maintenance, the state Transportation Department said.

Motorists are advised to use alternate routes.


Man who had sex with girls gets 1 1/2 years

LIHUE » A 25-year-old Kauai man who could have been sent to prison for more than 70 years has been sentenced to 18 months behind bars.

Justin Espinueva was 22 when he had consensual sex with two 14-year-old girls.

Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe told Espinueva on Wednesday that she could have him locked up for the rest of his life for his multiple felony convictions.

But Watanabe went along with most of the terms of a plea agreement worked out by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Chris Donahoe and Espinueva's court-appointed attorney, Nelson Goo. Espinueva will get credit for the 200 days he has been incarcerated.

Espinueva had pleaded no contest to nine counts of sexual assault.

Goo says Espinueva thought the 14-year-old girls were 17.