State roundup for February 22
Fire rips through Kaneohe home
KANEOHE, Hawaii (AP) — A fire swept through a Kaneohe home on Oahu, causing damage and displacing two people.
Hawaii News Now (http://is.gd/OGChsD) reports that the fire began early Thursday morning and caused nearly $200,000 in damage.
About 30 firefighters were called to the two-story home just after 2 a.m. It took firefighters just under an hour to put out the flames. No injuries were reported.
Murder suspect caught after escape in Honolulu
HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii inmate accused of killing a friend in a state park was caught after eluding authorities nearly 12 hours during an escape attempt, Honolulu police said Wednesday night.
Police said Teddy Munet (moo-NAY’) was arrested Wednesday night without incident by officers responding to an emergency call near a high rise apartment building roughly one mile from where he escaped.
The arrest ended a daylong search for the 29-year-old, touched off after authorities say he ran away from a loading area at Circuit Court in downtown Honolulu wearing handcuffs and shackles around his waist. He was being transported to the court from a nearby jail for a hearing.
Deputies transporting Munet from a nearby jail didn’t follow all proper procedures, authorities said earlier Wednesday as officers searched for him.
He wasn’t shackled at his ankles and the van transporting him stopped in an unsecured area.
Munet was dressed in a black hoodie sweatshirt and black shorts when he fled because he was supposed to wear civilian clothing to court that day, authorities said. It was not immediately clear whether he broke free of his restraints.
Munet’s lawyer, Edward Harada of the state public defender’s office, said the hearing Wednesday was on a routine motion asking for police records related to the case. It was not scheduled to be in front of a jury, he said.
Munet now faces additional charges after being held on second-degree murder, firearms and drug charges.
Munet’s trial is set for April.
Munet is accused of killing a friend in a state park in Kailua in July. The friend, William Fallau, was found dead with a bullet in the back of his neck at Kawainui State Park.
Fallau’s relatives said at the time that Fallau asked his father to let Munet live in their garage in Kaneohe. Munet stayed there until his arrest.
Harada said Munet has pleaded not guilty and intends to take the case to trial. Harada told The Associated Press earlier Wednesday that has not changed despite the escape.
“Of course, he has to be apprehended and we’ll take it from there,” Harada said.
Director Ted Sakai of the Hawaii Department of Public Safety said Teddy Munet ran toward a street after getting out of one of four vans taking inmates from Oahu Community Correctional Center to court appearances for the day.
Oahu rescue crews search for missing Navy SEAL
HONOLULU (AP) — Oahu rescue crews are searching for a Navy SEAL who went missing after he became separated from his unit during open ocean swim training off Kaena Point.
The Coast Guard said Wednesday Honolulu lifeguards and firefighters along with Navy sailors and Coast Guardsmen are helping with the search.
A Coast Guard helicopter crew and a response boat crew left a training exercise to search for the sailor Tuesday evening. A Coast Guard HC-130 airplane joined the search overnight.
Coast Guard cutters, a Navy tug, Honolulu Fire Department helicopter and Honolulu firefighters on jet skis are looked for the SEAL on Wednesday.
Air Force: Valve stopped fuel flow in F-16 crash
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (AP) — The Air Force says an F-16 flying from Japan to Alaska last July crashed at sea because a valve stopped fuel from reaching the engine.
An accident investigation report released by Pacific Air Forces in Hawaii on Tuesday says the jet’s main fuel shut-off valve was partially closed for more than three minutes and fully closed for three minutes.
Investigators weren’t able to determine why the valve closed because vital pieces of evidence weren’t recovered from the ocean floor.
The F-16 with the 35th Fighter Squadron at Misawa Air Base crashed July 22 about 250 miles off the coast of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost main island.
The pilot ejected safely and was retrieved after about six hours by a combined Japanese and U.S. rescue mission. He wasn’t injured.
University of Hawaii to probe waste allegations
HONOLULU (AP) — The University of Hawaii says it will investigate allegations a top UH executive has wasted state money by mismanaging construction projects and steering contracts to firms operated by friends.
The university said in a statement Tuesday President M.R.C. Greenwood and university leadership have reviewed testimony containing the allegations. Engineer Dennis Mitsunaga submitted the testimony to state Senate’s Committee on Higher Education on Thursday.
The Board of Regents and Greenwood plan to discuss the allegations against Associate Vice President Brian Minaai and the investigation in detail at the board’s meeting in Hilo on Thursday.
An email message sent to Minaai seeking comment was automatically returned with a note saying Minaai’s email is being forwarded and handled by university staff. University staff didn’t immediately respond.
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