State briefs for June 7

Lawyer tries to distance chief from wife’s money feud

HONOLULU — The lawyer representing Honolulu’s ex-police chief in a corruption trial tried Thursday to show jurors his client wasn’t involved in his wife’s family financial dispute that U.S. prosecutors say led the couple to frame a relative.

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Now-retired chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, Katherine, a former city prosecutor, are accused of framing her uncle, Gerard Puana, for stealing their mailbox to discredit him in the dispute.

Under questioning by the ex-chief’s attorney, Rustam Barbee, Puana said Thursday that Louis Kealoha wasn’t at any family meetings about the dispute.

Puana and his mother sued Katherine Kealoha, claiming she stole money from them in a reverse mortgage scheme. Puana says they didn’t sue Louis Kealoha.

Puana says his niece’s husband didn’t attend any of the 2014 trial for the lawsuit.

Official: Hundreds of homeless died during past 5 years

HONOLULU — Hundreds of homeless people on Oahu died during the past five years, according to an analysis by Honolulu Chief Medical Examiner Christopher Happy.

Happy found 373 people were considered homeless at the time of their deaths from 2014-18.

Causes of death varied, although disease and narcotics use were common, Happy said.

The analysis found the average age of the deceased homeless people was about 53 years old, nearly 30 years below the average lifespan in Hawaii.

Investigations into the deaths of homeless people are made more difficult because of a lack of social and familial ties, which often are used to determine the circumstances surrounding how someone dies, Happy said.

Ex-Bengal faces assault charge

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa — Former Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Jonathan Fanene faces charges alleging he used a pipe, golf club and broom handle to assault his wife and his sister because of allegations he had an affair while on a trip to Hawaii, according to court documents filed this week.

Fanene was charged in the district court of American Samoa with eight felonies, including kidnapping and assault, and five misdemeanors. He was released on $100,000 bail and will appear in court next week.

Defense lawyer Marcellus Talaimalo Uiagalelei, who declined to comment Thursday, will decide then if Fanene continues with a preliminary hearing at the district court level or opts to have the case heard in the High Court of American Samoa.

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Fanene played for the University of Utah and was drafted by the Bengals in the seventh round of the 2005 NFL draft. He played seven seasons for the Bengals and started 10 games in 2009. He played for New England in 2012, but he was released after being injured in training camp.

He has been serving as director of the American Samoa Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs since 2014, but has lost his job.

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