Air Force ends case against
killer’s associates

By Gregg K. Kakesako

The U.S. Air Force has decided not to take any actions against the airmen who allegedly knew that convicted Big Island murderer Airman 1st Class Damien Kawai planned to kill a fellow jet mechanic.

Kawai, 20, was convicted in a military court-martial at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa in May of the premeditated murder of Airman 1st Class Charles F. Eskew.

During the eight-day court-martial, Kawai, a 2000 Pahoa High School graduate, implicated two other jet engine mechanics from the 18th Maintenance Squadron, where he and Eskew worked. Kawai said Airman 1st Class Anthony Caluya encouraged him to kill Eskew and that Airman 1st Class Seth Pauli knew of the plan.

All of the allegations were denied.

Charles Steitz, Kadena spokesman, said Kawai's "testimony lacked credibility when viewed in light of all of the other evidence."

Steitz also said "administrative action" was taken against Kawai's girlfriend, Airman 1st Class Veronica Rivera, who allegedly received items stolen by Kawai from Eskew's room the night of the murder. Kawai admitted he stole a television, video cassette recorder, a DVD player, and several DVDs.

Kawai was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 20 years.

Eskew's family in Montana has launched a letter-writing campaign to Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., seeking his help in having the sentence increased.

E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2002 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --