Man convicted in shooting is found with drugs and gun

WAILUKU – A man convicted of manslaughter in a 1996 shooting in Olinda was arrested Thursday after police reported finding methamphetamine, marijuana and a loaded revolver while searching him and his residence.

Thomas Schillaci, 47, was being held in lieu of $275,000 bail pending a preliminary hearing Tuesday in Wailuku District Court.

He is charged with three counts of first-degree methamphetamine trafficking, second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, being a felon in possession of a firearm, being a felon in possession of ammunition, second-degree commercial promotion of marijuana, third-degree promotion of a harmful drug, six counts of possessing drug paraphernalia and possession of a deadly weapon.

During Schillaci’s initial court appearance Friday afternoon, Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones asked that Schillaci’s bail be increased from the $114,000 initially set, based on his criminal history and the circumstances of his arrest.

She said police executed warrants to search Schillaci and his residence on Kaiola Place in Kihei on Thursday morning. On Schillaci, police found more than 5 grams of methamphetamine that appeared to be packaged for sale, Jones said.

She said a search of the home resulted in the seizure of more than 2 pounds of methamphetamine, marijuana concentrate, processed marijuana and marijuana plants. Police also found more than $5,000 cash, paraphernalia including scales that are associated with drug dealing, a Ruger .357 Magnum revolver that was loaded with five rounds of ammunition and a double-sided dagger, Jones said.

She said Schillaci appeared to be involved in drug dealing and possibly drug manufacturing, saying methamphetamine was found in liquid, crystal and powder forms.

Deputy Public Defender Nikki List opposed an increase in Schillaci’s bail, saying it had already been set at a significant amount. She said Schillaci has been a Maui resident for 30 years and lives with his wife and daughter.

In 2007, Schillaci was sentenced to a 15-year prison term for manslaughter and a firearms charge for the June 3, 1996, fatal shooting of William “Billy” Simpson Jr.

Simpson had gone to the Piiholo Road home that Schillaci and his girlfriend were renting, collecting rent at the request of the homeowner. Simpson, 40, died after being shot in the head with a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun.

At the time of his sentencing, Schillaci had already served most of the prison term after being incarcerated since his arrest three days after the shooting.

Jones said Schillaci has 1990 convictions for third-degree promotion of a harmful drug, third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia.

In court Friday, Judge Barclay MacDonald increased Schillaci’s bail to $275,000. MacDonald said the request for increased bail was reasonable, finding Schillaci “is a danger to the community and is likely to commit further criminal offenses.”

If he posts bail, Schillaci was ordered not to consume or possess illegal drugs and to report for random drug testing.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at