By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
A police detective said Tuesday that the victim of a spear gun attack punched and threw a rock at the suspect before being shot with the spear.
Detective Fetuutuunai Amuimuia testified in the preliminary hearing of 49-year-old Georg Robert Curnutt, charged with attempted second-degree murder for allegedly shooting 20-year-old William Sullivan during a dispute in Leilani Estates on June 25. Amuimuia was the only witness called in the hearing in Hilo District Court.
Sullivan is still recovering at Hilo Medical Center, Amuimuia said, but added that he could be released “within the next two or three days.” He said that Fire Rescue personnel sawed off most of the spear, which he described as between 4- and 5-feet long, but that about a 14-inch portion of it, including the barbed end, remained in Sullivan’s chest as he was taken to the hospital.
The detective said that the spear’s barb made a reddish mark below the left shoulder blade, but didn’t appear to exit the young man’s back.
Amuimuia said Sullivan told him that he was taking a shower in the Leilani Avenue home owned by his parents late on the night of the incident when his mother told him that Curnutt, who lives in a broken-down school bus behind the Sullivan home, was yelling at Sullivan’s father, Tim. The detective said he was told that the younger Sullivan went outside and that he and Tim Sullivan attempted to calm Curnutt down.
“He (Curnutt) was snapping at Karen (Pytel), his girlfriend,” Amuimuia said. “He and his father started walking toward the bus to calm Georg down. … Eventually Georg turned around, had a stick in his hand. He tried to swing it at him (William Sullivan). He (William Sullivan) wen duck under and ended up punching Georg in the face, and I guess he (Curnutt) fell down, and he (William Sullivan) took the stick away.”
The detective said that the younger Sullivan told him that after he thought the incident was over and Curnutt had returned to the bus, William Sullivan heard a “click-click sound coming from the bus.” Under questioning, he said the sound was “like something being cocked.”
The younger Sullivan then saw Curnutt emerge from the bus and noticed the spear tip, Amuimuia testified. He said that William Sullivan tried to duck into some bushes and threw a rock at Curnutt, whom he said ducked out of the way of the rock.
“That’s when he (William Sullivan) heard a ‘whoosh’ sound and immediately he felt the pain in the chest area,” Amuimuia said.
“Did he tell you that Timothy and William were yelling threats at Georg?” asked Curnutt’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Michael Ebesugawa.
“He did not tell me that,” the detective replied.
Judge Shirley Kawamura ruled that probable cause exists to try Curnutt on the attempted murder charge. She ordered Curnutt to appear for arraignment and plea on July 16 at 8:30 a.m. before Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara.
Curnutt remains in custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center on $500,000 bail.
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.