Category Archives: Crime

KHON stonewalls on Peter Boy Kema video

[Update: I received word that within minutes of this post appearing this morning, KHON GM Kristina Lockwood emailed Steve Lane, special master for the Kema siblings, and said the video materials at issue will be returned to the family in Kona. It was an abrupt but very welcome turnaround for the station.]

The latest round of victimization for the surviving siblings of Peter Boy Kema appears to have come at the hands of Hawaii’s FOX affiliate, KHON2, according to emails between the station’s general manager and a court-appointed special master representing the Kema children, now all adults.

KHON has rejected a request from the Kema family to return video loaned to the station years ago following Peter Boy’s disappearance, saying they would not cooperate unless ordered by a court.

Steve Lane, a Honolulu private investigator with more than three decades experience now serving as special master, says the Kema siblings initially asked KHON to return “the original video material that the Kema family kindly loaned your station years ago of Peter Boy Kema-their only copies of such video- in their hopes that you might help them find their child.” He said the family hopes to use the video in a memorial service for Peter Boy currently being planned.

“We certainly understand that after so many years that it is difficult to locate the original tapes so all they are requesting at this time is a copy of whatever footage you took from the original tapes,” Lane wrote in an email to the station.

Instead of returning the video, the station requested an interview. When that request was turned down, the station responded by saying that the video would not be returned absent a court order specifically directing the video to be released.

“If you want our video, please get a court order specifically requesting this,” Kristina Lockwood, KHON vice-president and general manager, wrote in an email on Friday afternoon.

Lane fired back: “For you to now hold their personal property hostage to an interview or a court order is disgraceful.”

Lane says he hopes to file a subpoena for the material as early as tomorrow.

Road rage suspect did time in the 1990s

If you live in Honolulu, you most likely saw news reports about an apparent road rage incident in which a 31-year old man was shot and killed.

The suspect in the shooting was identified as 72-year old retired firefighter and Aiea resident, Darryl Freeman.

It didn’t take any special digging to turn up this short item published in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin back on December 22, 1999.

It seems Freeman served prison time for both state and federal crimes back in the 1990s.

Question: What ever happened to Darryl Freeman, the former Waiau battalion fire chief sentenced in 1993 to state and federal prison terms involving convictions for theft, firearms violations, tax evasion, mail fraud and racketeering to defraud insurance companies with false claims of stolen cars? Why was his house not confiscated as his sentencing indicated?

Answer: Freeman was paroled on his state term April 24, 1996, and was released from his federal sentence on Oct. 4 this year.

“He is under supervision with us and serving a term of supervised release,” said Betty Taylor, chief U.S. probation officer, District of Hawaii.

“At the time of sentencing the court didn’t order any confiscation. He was ordered to make restitution, which we’re in the process of having him make. There was no order at the time of sentencing to confiscate his house.”

On June 7, 1993, U.S. District Judge Harold Fong ordered Freeman to pay some $216,000 in restitution to insurance companies, and Freeman began serving his prison terms a short time later.

Civil Beat investigation draws some national attention

A Civil Beat investigation into the near-fatal beating of a 17-month old at an Ewa Beach daycare operated by the family of a Honolulu police officer has received some national attention.

The issue highlighted in in today’s “Pick of the news,” a daily summary of top reporting on criminal justice issues compiled by The Marshall Project, a national group that presses for criminal justice reform by highlighting top quality journalism on related issues from around the country and the world.

It was selected as one of just five featured stories, which included others from Oregon, Kansas, Missouri, and North Carolina.

The CB item is short and to the point, with a link back to the most recent Civil Beat story.

There are new allegations of dubious police work in Hawaii, where police officials have ordered a new review of an old investigation into a toddler abuse case. HONOLULU CIVIL BEAT

The original investigative story by John Hill, Civil Beat’s investigations editor, was published last week (“This Honolulu Toddler Nearly Died In An Assault But No Charges Filed“).

It has already triggered an HPD review of the case, which could lead to reopening of the matter.

Congratulations to Civil Beat and John Hill for the excellent work.

Another story caught my eye when I checked the Marshall Project website today: How to Leak Stories to The Marshall Project, Your guide to becoming a source.

It includes some very useful general advice for whistleblowers or insiders who want to share a tip:

What not to do

If you want to minimize — if not avoid entirely — any visible links between yourself and The Marshall Project, The Intercept offers some good, albeit technical, advice on becoming a whistleblower.

Don’t visit our website at work. Don’t subscribe to our daily newsletter with your work email account. Don’t tell anyone about your plans, and don’t use your work phone or email to contact us.

One bit of advice is decidedly low-tech.

If you really want to be anonymous when you contact us, the U.S. mail is a good way to go. Our colleagues at ProPublica offer this advice:

“U.S. postal mail without a return address is one of the most secure ways to communicate — authorities would need a warrant to intercept and open it in transit. Don’t use your company or agency mailroom to send something to us. Mail your package or envelope from an unfamiliar sidewalk box instead of going to a post office. You can mail us paper materials or digital files on, for example, a thumb drive.”

Series of search warrants in Kealoha probe

Hawaii News Now reporter Lynn Kawano got quite a scoop yesterday with its report that another search warrant had been served in the ongoing public corruption investigation involving the outgoing Honolulu Police Chief and his wife (“FBI raids second city building in police chief investigation“).

According to HNN, the FBI accessed a backup computer server that mirrors the Honolulu Police Department’s computer system. The server, located in the Frank F. Fasi Municipal Building, maintains copies of the HPD electronic files and images.

The search of the backup server came during the same week that the FBI served a similar warrant on the office Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro, where Katherine Kealoha is a senior deputy, and a federal judge took possession of laptop computers used by Kealoha.

HNN quotes defense attorney Victor Bakke, who called the “unprecedented.”

Bakke also speculated that the series of search warrants indicates additional witnesses are now cooperating with authorities, describing additional details that are now being pursued.

The unusual investigation into the chief and his wife, a top city prosecutor, is finally starting to draw national attention. An Associated Press story by Jennifer Kelleher was picked up by ABC News and broke into broadcast and print news across the country (“FBI Serves Warrant at Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s Office“).

By the way, this morning’s online edition of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the state’s largest newspaper, does not yet have a story on this latest search warrant executed at the city’s main municipal office building.