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State / In Brief

August 16, 2014
The Associated Press

Bail at $250K for suspect in stabbings

HONOLULU - Hawaii prosecutors say a 39-year-old man stabbed three people Sunday morning after claiming that their conversation was keeping his wife awake.

Michael Ford is charged with attempted murder, felony assault and attempted assault.

He remains jailed with bail set at $250,000.

Police say several men and women had left a bar and were talking at about 1 a.m. on South Beretania Street when Ford approached from his apartment a half-block away.

Witnesses say he complained they were too loud and his wife was trying to sleep.

Police say a fight broke out and Ford used a 4-inch knife to stab one man in his back, a second man on his head and chest and a woman on her leg.

Police described the men's injuries as serious.


Coast Guard rescues man in life raft

HONOLULU - A man whose boat sank Tuesday night was rescued in a life raft by the Coast Guard 7 miles south of Diamond Head.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that the 41-foot sailing vessel Esperanza struck something, took on water and rapidly sank in 300 feet of water.

A woman friend received a text message from the man at 9:05 p.m. and relayed his plea for help.

The Coast Guard's 45-foot response boat responded. The agency got a signal from the man's Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon at 9:26 p.m. and received the precise location at 9:50 p.m.

The man's age and hometown were not released.


Woman charged as accomplice to fraud

HONOLULU - Federal prosecutors say a Hawaii woman helped a prison inmate file fraudulent tax returns that collected hundreds of thousand dollars in refunds to support a prison gang.

A complaint filed last week charges Melisa George with conspiracy to file false tax returns.

George is charged with assisting inmate Robin Lee by forwarding false tax returns, completing some of the forms and paying street people to sign them.

The 53-year-old Lee pleaded guilty July 30 to racketeering.

Prosecutors say he filed nearly 300 fraudulent tax returns from 2007 to 2012 and collected $353,810.

Prosecutors say the money helped a gang, "USO Family" buy drugs and bribe prison guards at Halawa Correctional Facility.

Lee will be sentenced in December. He faces a minimum of 20 years.


Attempted murder charge in stabbing

HONOLULU - Bail has been set at $200,000 for a 66-year-old man suspected of stabbing a woman Tuesday in Kailua.

William Esper is charged with attempted murder in the stabbing of a 43-year-old woman.

Prosecutors describe Esper as homeless.

Police say he stabbed the woman with an "edged weapon" Tuesday afternoon on Oneawa Street. He was taken into custody at the scene 30 minutes later.

Esper's criminal record includes a conviction on one felony count, criminal property damage, in 2000. He has been convicted previously of misdemeanor property damage counts.


Red Cross truck found, back in service

HILO - The American Red Cross says a truck that was stolen as a storm approached the Big Island has been found and is being used to help the hard-hit Puna region.

The Red Cross Hawaii Chapter pleaded for the return of its only emergency truck on the Big Island after it was stolen in Hilo last week.

Hawaii Chapter spokeswoman Krislyn Yano says police found the truck the next day, with silver spray paint over the Ford F-150's Red Cross logos. She says the truck is operational and workers were able to use it just in time to deliver supplies and conduct assessments after Tropical Storm Iselle made landfall over Puna.

The truck is equipped with four-wheel drive, allowing workers to navigate roads strewn with debris and fallen trees.



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