By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
The girlfriend of a slain Hawaiian Acres man said that he hung out with the two men police say killed him under the watchful eye of home video surveillance cameras.
Alohalani Silva, longtime girlfriend of Dante Peter Gilman, said she and others told him that 30-year-old Claude Keone Krause and his 19-year-old cousin, Kawena K. Krause, both of Kurtistown, were “bad news,” but that the 44-year-old Gilman refused to listen.
“I don’t know why he was hanging out with them. I really don’t know why he was hanging out with them,” Silva said Thursday. “I told them to stay away from them; they was bad news. He had good friends, too, but they’d stay away from him because he was hanging out (with the Krauses).”
Silva, 49, told the Tribune-Herald that she and her younger sister were the ones who told police on Jan. 10 that Gilman had been missing, not her daughter, as was reported from court documents filed by police. Gilman’s body was found Jan. 22 by police along the “Tree Planting Road” off Stainback Highway in Hilo.
Silva said that Gilman’s problems with the Krauses started after the Krauses had stolen a motorcycle from him. She said that Gilman reported the bike as stolen to the police, but also sent an acquaintance, “a big man,” to confront the Krauses.
“From that day on, those boys threatened Dante, told Dante, ‘I’m going (to) kill you; I’m going (to) take your bike. I’m going to take your truck. I’m going to take everything you own,’” she said.
She said that Gilman would rather “let them kill him” than to let them take the truck.
“That Toyota truck; it was his life,” she said. According to court documents filed by police, the truck was stolen. Documents stated that Claude Krause drove the Toyota Tacoma for a few days, then traded it for a Chevy truck and some cash.
Silva said that Gilman installed the video surveillance system about six months ago, because he feared the Krauses.
“He put the cameras in because of these people (the Krauses),” she said. “He paid about $3-thousand-something dollars for those cameras.”
According to court documents, the cameras recorded the homicide on Dec. 28, with Claude Krause shooting Gilman and Kawena Krause then choking him until he was lifeless. Silva said the Krauses ransacked Gilman’s Road 10 home and stole numerous items, but didn’t find the video’s hard drive, which she said she turned over to police detectives.
“I said, ‘Look how smart (Gilman) was. This is the box. This will show everything that was going on on the camera,’” she said.
Silva said the Krauses continued to threaten her and her family until they were arrested.
“They went to my daughter, … Keone did, and whispered in her in Kurtistown, ‘You tell your mom to keep her nose where it belongs.’ I got freaked out because I was already talking to the detectives. After that, some girl texted my daughter saying, ‘Your mother’s boyfriend is up Stainback Road with two shots in his head.’
“I got all freaked out, so I made her forward those messages to the detectives.”
Silva said that she believes Gilman’s homicide, and the apparent homicide of Shane Y.K. Kobayashi, whose body was found on Jan. 18 off Stainback Highway by detectives searching for Gilman’s body, are related.
Police said they had no evidence that Gilman — who was sentenced in 2003 to 10 years probation and a year in jail, suspended, for commercial promotion of marijuana — was still growing pot, but Silva said he was.
“Guaranteed,” she said.
Silva added that Gilman, a former competition surfer, also did some construction work. Silva said that Gilman inherited money when his father, Peter, a former Honolulu Star-Bulletin reporter who wrote the best-selling novel “Diamond Head,” died in 1999, but that he spent money freely and did whatever he could to make a living.
She also confirmed reports that Gilman, when drunk, would brag loudly about burying money around the property.
“I would tell him, ‘Dante, you got a big mouth.’” She said she wasn’t aware of money actually being buried around Gilman’s home.
Silva told the Tribune-Herald that she met Gilman in 2003, and for the last three years, their relationship was “off and on.” She said that for the past three years of Gilman’s life, she no longer lived with him because of his alcoholism. She said that despite having filed for a temporary restraining order against him in 2008, and him filing for TROs against her in 2006 and 2008, he was never physically abusive.
“I loved my Gilman,” she said. “I called him ‘Gilman.’ He was the sweetest man. He was an a—hole, too, but he was my a—hole.”
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.