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‘Castle John’ found guilty by jury

A 60-year-old Kalapana Seaview Estates man was convicted Friday of all charges related to a burglary of a home he once owned in the subdivision.

A jury took only about 90 minutes Friday to find “Castle John” Williams guilty of first-degree burglary, third-degree assault and two counts of second-degree terroristic threatening. Williams got his moniker because of the castle-style home he built and still lives in. The home where the offenses occurred is called the “gingerbread house” because it resembles the house in the fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel.”

Williams and three other men entered the gingerbread house, which was in foreclosure, on Jan. 10, 2015, and threatened the occupants, Joshua Jendro and Anna Johnson, ordering them to leave. In cellphone video clips shown to the jury, Williams could be heard telling them “the Hawaiian Kingdom is on the way” and he would “be back in a half-hour with people who will f------ kill you!”

Williams, who considers himself a citizen of the Hawaiian nation, testified he went back to the home to clean it out and occupy it, claiming he was still the rightful owner and it was stolen by the U.S. government and “the banksters.”

He said he also went back earlier to reclaim the property of a woman he described as his “hanai daughter,” Bonnie Evans, but her property had been destroyed. Williams said Evans had been assaulted by Jendro and Johnson, while the couple claimed Evans’ injuries were self-inflicted.

Williams suffered a broken nose and fractured eye socket in the confrontation, which the jury ruled was not a mutual affray and initiated by Williams.

Jendro said Williams put his hands around his throat and a photo showed Jendro had suffered a facial cut.

As the judge polled the individual jurors about the guilty verdicts, Williams glared angrily and pointed at the jury.

“Soulless people, soulless! Soulless people!” he shouted.

“You are ordered to remain quiet during the polling, Mr. Williams,” Hara said, firmly but calmly.

“You can order anything you want,” Williams replied and crossed his arms on his chest. “You’re soulless, as well.”

“Did you understand the order, Mr. Williams?” the judge asked.

“I understand everything that’s been going on from the beginning!” Williams shot back.

Williams’ head started shaking like a bobble-head doll’s and he stamped a Roman sandal-shod right heel, softly at first, then increased the volume and intensity until Hara asked him to stop.

“Sorry, I’m having a tic, Your Honor!” Williams exclaimed and stopped, temporarily, but resumed shortly thereafter.

At one point, Williams stood and loudly proclaimed, “Your Honor, I would like the jury to face me while you read those (verdicts). I’d like each and every one of them to look into my eyes as you read those.”

“Mr. Williams, you’re not to address the jurors directly. You’re to sit down and —,” Hara said and repeated his order.

Williams refused and replied, “Are you going to drag me to jail because I’d rather stand than sit, sir?”

About a half-dozen sheriff’s deputies were in the courtroom and three moved to surround Williams as he sat, fuming.

In addition, Williams called the jury “cowards.” As they filed out after being excused, he told the jurors to “go find your souls.”

Hara ordered Williams to return at 1 p.m. Dec. 15 for sentencing. Williams faces a possible 10-year prison term on the burglary charge, but is eligible for probation.

Deputy Prosecutor Lucas Burns asked the judge to order Williams be held without bail pending sentencing, but Hara denied his request, noting Williams has been present for his court dates.

Before he left the courtroom, Williams whispered he had petitioned the United Nations for asylum.

Afterward, Burns said he believes “justice was done in this matter” and thanked the jury for its service.

Jennifer Wharton, Williams’ court-appointed attorney, declined comment.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

 

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