Mistrial ruled in
Halawa prison death

A new trial is set for June 2
after the hung jury is dismissed

By Debra Barayuga

A mistrial was declared yesterday in the case of a former Halawa adult corrections officer accused of recklessly causing the death of an inmate nearly five years ago.

Circuit Judge Sandra Simms dismissed the jury after its members indicated they could not reach a unanimous decision and did not think that additional time would help. The jury had been deliberating since Wednesday afternoon.

Brian Freitas, 37, was charged with reckless manslaughter for slamming the head of Antonio Revera onto a concrete table at least three times on April 23, 1998, after the inmate had been sedated.

Revera, 27, had been involved earlier in a violent struggle with six corrections officers and bit the hand of a sergeant while being escorted to a special holding cell.

Freitas, who was not involved in the struggle, later went into a room where Revera had been brought and did what he believed was reasonable under the circumstances, public defender William Jameson had argued.

Knowing of Revera's history of violence and biting others, Freitas said he had grabbed Revera's head because none of the other corrections officers had done so to allow the nurses to safely clean up Revera's vomit. Freitas also pushed down Revera's head a few times when he appeared to be stirring.

"They took what Brian did and turned it around and made him the bad guy," Jameson said during closing arguments.

Everyone who came into contact with Revera that day has kept their job except for Freitas and another corrections officer, who reported to police that a sergeant had struck Revera while he lay on the ground during the struggle, Jameson said.

But deputy prosecutor Alfred Brunn said other corrections officers in the room and a nurse testified they either saw Freitas slamming Revera's head onto the concrete bed or heard the "thump."

At least two people either told Freitas to stop or questioned his actions, Brunn said.

When later confronted by another corrections officer who had not witnessed but heard about the alleged incident, Freitas allegedly told her jokingly, "I had to crack his teeth so he didn't bite anybody," Brunn said.

The medical examiner had concluded that Revera had died due to violent hitting and shaking of the head.

A new trial has been set for June 2.

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