Thursday, February 25, 1999

Feary’s note blames
the ‘unfair’ system

By Lori Tighe


In his suicide note, Mackey Feary Jr. asked his lawyer to use his death to shed light on how the system failed him.

"Dear Bill," the letter began, "Please don't let my death be in vain. Please see this letter is published with as much media exposure as possible. Let the world know how unfair the state of Hawaii is to those of us with our specific type of medical problem."

The medical problem Feary referred to was his dual diagnosis of clinical depression and drug addiction to crystal methamphetamine, or "ice," said William Harrison, his attorney.

Facing 10 years in prison, the singer of Kalapana hanged himself Saturday with a bedsheet in his Halawa Correctional Facility cell.

Harrison released the note yesterday, except for one paragraph that he considers potentially libelous.

"It names individuals and makes derogatory comments about them and suggests illegal activity," Harrison said.

Feary was convicted of criminal property damage and two drug offenses for smashing his wife's car window at Waimalu Shopping Center in 1997.

He served six months of a one-year prison term and had been sentenced to five years probation. But after Feary failed drug tests and violated a restraining order, the probation was revoked and he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Feary hanged himself two days after the judge refused to reconsider his sentence.

Members of the public, Feary's family and friends, prison reform advocates, and drug-addiction specialists believe the term was too harsh -- especially for someone dually diagnosed.

But city Prosecutor Peter Carlisle said Feary got what he deserved.

"Obviously it's regrettable. But that's about it," Carlisle said.

"Do I think the system failed him? No. The one who failed Mackey Feary is Mackey Feary."

Feary didn't test positive for crystal methamphetamine on the day he hanged himself, according to toxicology reports, Harrison said. Feary still was taking an antidepressant.

Feary's older sister, Dancetta Kamai said, "We're very, very disappointed in the system."

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