POSTED: Thursday, February 18, 2010

Washington man drowns off Maui

A 54-year-old Washington state diver apparently drowned yesterday while swimming in the ocean off Maui.

Maui police identified the man as Daniel Barney of Spokane.

Barney and another person were calling for help shortly before noon in the area of Black Rock, Maui police said in a statement.

When officers arrived, Barney was being pulled from the ocean and bystanders were trying to resuscitate him, police said.

Barney died at Maui Memorial Medical Center.


Accused killer found fit for trial

A state judge yesterday deemed accused killer Tittleman Fauatea mentally fit to stand trial for murder after the only court-appointed mental health expert to find him unfit said he made the finding to be safe.

Fauatea, 26, is awaiting trial for second-degree murder in the Feb. 27, 2009, fatal stabbing of a woman he didn't know at Ewa Town Center.

Waianae High School teacher Asa Yamashita, 43, died from stab wounds to her heart and lungs. She was attacked as she sat on a bench eating a bowl of noodles.

Forensic psychologist Martin Blinder said he thought Fauatea was probably faking psychosis when he interviewed him at Oahu Community Correctional Center last May. But he said he felt Fauatea could benefit from three months of treatment at the Hawaii State Hospital. He said Fauatea suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and anti-social personality disorder, but might have been playing with his mental illness to avoid prosecution. He also said Fauatea can be violent for no good reason.


Keltz gets operations post at Hickam

Brig. Gen. Michael A. Keltz—vice commander of 7th Air Force, Pacific Air Forces, and chief of staff of the Air Component Command at Osan Air Base in South Korea—will become the new assistant director of operations, plans, programs and requirements at Pacific Air Forces headquarters at Hickam Air Force Base.

Keltz received his commission from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1981. He has flown combat and contingency operations on AC-130H, MC-130E, MC-130H and AC-130U gunships and Combat Talons in Grenada, El Salvador, Panama and Sierra Leone and in operations Desert Storm and Provide Comfort. During operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, he was the air component commander for several classified joint task forces. He commanded the 19th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla., from 1998-2000; a special mission group in Iraq and Afghanistan; the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia from 2004-2005; and the 607th Air and Space Operations Center at Osan from 2007.

Keltz is a command pilot with more than 4,000 hours, including more than 300 combat and contingency sorties in AC-130, C-130E and MC-130 aircraft.


Jury finds pair guilty of tax evasion

A federal jury convicted a Honolulu couple, who are both psychologists, of tax evasion and conspiring to evade income taxes.

After a 10-day trial, David Opollo Ross, 40, and his wife, Lei Lavarias Ross, 38, were found guilty of five charges of tax evasion and one charge of conspiring to evade income taxes between 1998 and 2002.

The evidence revealed the Rosses hid their income of more than $1.8 million received from their practice of psychology, a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

The Rosses failed to pay more than $230,000 in income taxes, based on their income primarily from the state of Hawaii and charitable organizations for professional services rendered, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Sentencing is set for June 14 before U.S. District Judge David Ezra.


Penelope Cruz might join 'Pirates' cast

Is Penelope Cruz going to be a movie pirate?

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Cruz is in negotiations to join Johnny Depp in “;Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,”; the fourth of the box-office hit franchise.

While Depp is reprising his popular role of Captain Jack Sparrow, another name actress is being sought to replace Keira Knightley who, after three “;Pirates”; films, opted out of playing Elizabeth Swann for a fourth time. The Hollywood Reporter said that the new female character is expected “;to be Sparrow's foil and equal in many ways.”;

If Cruz does sign on, she will reunite with director Rob Marshall, who takes over for previous franchise director Gore Verbinski. Marshall directed Cruz in the movie musical version of “;Nine.”; The fourth “;Pirates”; movie films in Hawaii this summer, with plans for a May 20, 2011, release date.



Decomposed Kalalau body is identified

Kauai police identified the 58-year-old man whose decomposed body was found in Kalalau Valley as Rodney Ahn.

The Garden Isle newspaper on Kauai reported yesterday that Ahn lived in the remote valley.

Firefighters recovered Ahn's body in bedding Sunday in the back of the valley after a tour helicopter saw “;SOS”; written in the sand and called police.

Firefighters reached the area by helicopter and spoke with campers who led them to the body.

Authorities could not immediately identify Ahn because of the decomposition.

Kauai officials performed an autopsy Tuesday, but deferred his cause of death pending a toxicology report, officials said.

Police said no foul play is suspected in Ahn's death.