Defendant in Puna burglary, assault trial says he was victim

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A 59-year-old Kalapana Seaview Estates man on trial for allegedly entering a neighboring home and threatening a man and woman testified Wednesday he only went there after they beat his hanai daughter and he warned them to leave before “a posse” came to harm and possibly kill them.

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A 59-year-old Kalapana Seaview Estates man on trial for allegedly entering a neighboring home and threatening a man and woman testified Wednesday he only went there after they beat his hanai daughter and he warned them to leave before “a posse” came to harm and possibly kill them.

John Williams is known as “Castle John” because of the castle-like home he built in the lower Puna subdivision. Williams testified that the Kamoamoa Street home known as the “gingerbread house,” where the events of Jan. 10, 2015, leading to counts of first-degree burglary, third-degree assault and two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening, was still his home, despite a bank foreclosure and eviction against him by authorities in 2012.

“That house belongs to me,” Williams said on the witness stand, wearing a royal blue robe with contrasting red front, a paper crown decorated in gold glitter and a headlamp.

According to court documents filed by police, Williams is accused of entering the house without permission with three other men, pushing Anna Johnson, then 45, to the floor, grabbing her 31-year-old boyfriend, Joshua Jendro, by the neck, and threatened to have them killed if they weren’t gone in a half-hour.

Williams denies the allegations and said he was punched in the face by Jendro and kicked in the face by Johnson after she dragged him to the ground by his beard.

A photo shown to the jury depicted Williams with injuries to his face. He testified on the stand that he suffered a fractured nose and fractured eye socket.

Williams said he saw Bonnie Evans, whom he described as his hanai daughter, on Jan. 7 and that she had been beaten. A photograph of her in evidence showed her with swollen eyes and lips and facial contusions. He said he went to the house Jan. 8 to get her belongings. He was able to get into the home, but found her bedroom, the master bedroom and another room he called “the S&M room” — complete with whips, chains and leather — locked, so he removed the doorknobs, only to find Evans’ belongings trashed and covered in ant poison.

Williams testified he went back Jan. 10 with several others “to clean all the damaged property out of the home and to occupy it, because it’s my home.”

He said he was surprised to find Jendro and Johnson still there “because they knew there was a posse looking for them.”

“I simply stated the facts that there were people looking for them who wanted to kill them,” Williams said. “I even said that many times in open court many times before the trial started. … I didn’t go there because I was concerned for them. I found them there and became concerned for them. Because I know there are people all around that area who would love to get their hands on Josh Jendro because of what they did to Bonnie.”

Three short cellphone video clips showed part of the confrontation.

In one video, Williams could be heard saying, “The Hawaiian Kingdom is on the way. You guys are f——-!” Later in the video, Williams says, “I have lost my mind, you know. … Get your s—- and get out!” Jendro also could be heard telling Williams and the others, “You get out of here!”

In another clip, Williams, his voice rising, said “Let me explain this to you properly. I’ll be back in a half-hour with people who will f——— kill you! You understand that? You understand that?”

“You meant that as a threat, didn’t you?” Deputy Prosecutor Jack Matsukawa asked.

“At the time, I was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder,” Williams replied. “I’d been kicked in the face twice and punched once.”

“Didn’t you tell the jury … that you was just going to go out and get the Hawaiian Kingdom to come and gently … explain to them the situation?” Matsukawa inquired.

“That was my intent before I got kicked in the face,” Williams replied.

Williams said he went to the Hawaiian Kingdom for help because he “doesn’t trust the police,” although he later gave a statement to one officer he trusts, Erhard Autrata, because “even though he’s part of the system, he also has a morality and a consciousness of his own.” Williams said he did so because “it became apparent that the Prosecutor’s Office had their heads up their asses and didn’t know who to prosecute properly.”

Jury instructions and closing arguments by Matsukawa and Jennifer Wharton, Williams’ court-appointed attorney, are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. today in the courtroom of Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara.

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If convicted of the burglary charge, Williams could be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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