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Man indicted for starting massive wildfire

Bingham

WAILUKU — A 29-year-old man has been indicted on charges including three counts of first-degree arson for allegedly starting a wildfire two years ago that burned more than 9,000 acres in Central Maui and North Kihei.

Holden Bingham, who gave no local address, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, three counts of first-degree arson, first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, promoting a controlled substance near a school or park, attempted first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and first-degree promotion of prison contraband.

The fire started the morning of July 11, 2019, in Waikapu, where Bingham was reportedly trying to fix a stolen Nissan pickup truck. Thousands of people were evacuated as the fire swept toward Maalaea and North Kihei before it was contained four days later.

The three arson charges allege damage of more than $20,000 to property of Maui Electric Co., Bayer and the U.S. Army, which has its Army National Guard Armory along Maui Veterans Highway.

Three days after the fire started, Bingham was arrested in another stolen vehicle with 4.89 grams of methamphetamine that was packaged for sale, according to police. He was arrested within 750 feet of Imua Preschool and Kahului Community Center Park, police reported.

The prison contraband charge alleges he possessed methamphetamine while in jail on July 24, 2020.

If convicted as charged, Bingham could face mandatory minimum sentencing as a repeat offender with a prior conviction for second-degree burglary.

After being indicted Aug. 27 by a Maui County grand jury, Bingham was arraigned Sept. 8 in 2nd Circuit Court.

An Oct. 13 pretrial conference is set for Bingham, who is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail at the Maui Community Correctional Center.

In another pending case, his bail is set at $600,000 on 19 charges including second-degree burglary, habitual property crime, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug.

Cash-only bail of $500,000 is set for Bingham based on allegations that he violated his probation for second-degree burglary and habitual property crime in a 2018 case.

Police said Bingham is being investigated for manslaughter and driving under the influence of drugs in connection with an early-morning crash May 6 that killed his passenger, a 37-year-old Wailuku woman.

Police said Bingham was driving a stolen truck toward Wailuku on Waiehu Beach Road when he lost control of the truck and hit the guardrail on the makai side shoulder near Wailupe Drive in Waiehu. The truck rolled over and his passenger was ejected from the vehicle, police said.

Three days before the fatal crash, Bingham had been released from jail on a bail bond.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.

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