South Kona murder suspect remains hospitalized

  • Brian Lee Smith

KAILUA-KONA — The Honaunau man facing murder, attempted murder and other charges in connection with a June 23 shooting in South Kona remains hospitalized.

Hawaii Police Department Maj. Robert Wagner said Monday that 49-year-old Brian Lee Smith remains at a medical facility on Oahu. Smith’s status is day-to-day and it is not known when he will be released from medical care. When he is, Smith will be returned to Hawaii Island for his initial court appearance

Meanwhile, the third man injured in the incident was released from The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, Wagner said. The man, who has not been identified, was slated to return Monday to Hawaii Island. Smith was charged June 26 with second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder, first-degree attempted murder, two counts of ownership or possession (firearm) prohibited and two counts of carrying or use of firearm in the commission of a separate felony. He is currently in police custody and bail is set at $1.15 million.

The charges stem from a June 23 shooting incident on Painted Church Road in Honaunau. Upon arrival, Hawaii Police Department officers confirmed one person dead at the scene. He was later identified as 42-year-old Thomas Ballesteros Jr., of no permanent address.

Anyone who may have information about this incident is asked to call the department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311 or to contact Detective Carrie Akina at 326-4646, ext. 277, or by email at


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