Saturday, November 13, 1999

Indictment dismissed in
homeless man’s death

By Susan Kreifels


A Circuit Court judge has dismissed a manslaughter indictment because the state did not present all medical evidence to the grand jury, a defense attorney said.

Charles Kaheaku Jr., 33, was accused of hitting a homeless man, Theodore Barcenas, 40, in November 1997 in Waikiki. Barcenas died several days later at the Queen's Hospital.

Mark Worsham, Kaheaku's court-appointed defense attorney, said Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario dismissed the indictment because the state had not presented information to the grand jury from the attending physician at Queen's. The physician had determined Barcenas died of terminal liver disease, not from head injuries sustained in the fight.

The state only presented the report from the medical examiner's office, which said Barcenas died because of the injuries.

Deputy Prosecutor Russell Uehara appeared for the state yesterday but had not presented the case to the grand jury. Uehara said he agreed with Del Rosario's ruling and would recommend the state present the case again to the grand jury but this time include all medical information.

Uehara, after reviewing the case last January, had said he intended to ask for reduced charges of second- or third-degree assault. Uehara said reports showed Barcenas was an alcoholic and his liver was not functioning when he went to the hospital. Barcenas also told police he fell down on his own and that no one punched him.

Worsham said, however, that the charges were never reduced.

Kaheaku will be released as soon as the dismissal papers are completed, Worsham said.

In January, the court allowed Kaheaku to be placed on supervised release to his mother while awaiting trial. He would have faced a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted of manslaughter.

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