POSTED: Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Not-guilty plea entered in murder

Ewa Beach teenager Vernon P. Bartley was in Circuit Court yesterday to face charges that he raped and killed his 51-year-old neighbor.

His lawyer, Jeffrey Hawk, pleaded not guilty on behalf of the 16-year-old to first- and second-degree murder, second-degree sexual assault, second-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, unauthorized computer access, unauthorized use of confidential personal information, credit card theft and fraudulent use of a credit card.

Circuit Judge Derrick Chan scheduled trial for the week of Dec. 29.

Bartley's bail is $500,000. However, he remains at Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility for a crime or crimes for which state Family Court had previously adjudicated him as a juvenile.

Senior Judge Frances Wong waived Family Court jurisdiction over Bartley earlier this month for the case involving his neighbor Karen Ertell. Police said Bartley admitted strangling Ertell on May 25, 2007, using her home computer and stealing her wallet and car. He was 15 years old at the time.

Bartley turned 16 last May.

Police charged Bartley with first-degree murder, which carries the state's stiffest penalty of mandatory life in prison without the possibility for parole, because Ertell was scheduled to testify against him in Family Court.


Campaign-fund reports due Friday

The state Campaign Spending Commission has extended its reporting deadline after its computer system crashed last week.

The commission announced on its Web page that the last deadline before the election has been extended from yesterday until Friday.

“;The candidate filing system and noncandidate filing system have been down for an extended time,”; the commission said.

The report covers the last-minute expenditures and donations to local candidates and campaign committees.


Coast Guard honors lifesaver

John O. Dacuag of Salt Lake was presented the highest lifesaving award given to a civilian yesterday, the Coast Guard's Gold Lifesaving Medal, for risking his life to save a shipwrecked crewman during a deadly 2007 typhoon.

“;His unselfish actions and valiant service, despite imminent personal danger, reflect the highest credit upon himself and are in keeping with the highest traditions of humanitarian service,”; according to a citation from the Coast Guard commandant, Adm. Thad Allen, delivered at a formal ceremony at the 14th Coast Guard District's headquarters in Honolulu.

“;Thank you, I'm very honored. I am humbled to receive this award from the U.S. Coast Guard,”; said Dacuag.

Dacuag was aboard the cargo vessel Horizon Falcon July 10, 2007, when it changed course to help the distressed Hai Tong No. 7, about 375 miles northwest of Guam. Both vessels were battling extremely rough conditions created by Typhoon Man-Yi in the Philippine Sea.

Thirteen of the Hai Tong's 22 crew members were rescued. One of them is still alive only because Dacuag jumped into 24-foot seas amid 40-knot winds to grab him, a release said. Dacuag had hung from a ladder off the side of the Horizon Falcon, trying futilely to grab the fatigued man several times. Just when the Horizon Falcon was about to pass out of range, Dacuag jumped into the ocean and swam to the crewman, securing a line to him and pulling him aboard, according to a release.