Makiki double murder-suicide revives electronic TRO bill

Friends Mourn
Friends Mourn
Linda Tsai
Linda Tsai

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

DOWNTOWN HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Teenagers in tears and parents pushing for new laws marched to the Capitol on Wednesday, remembering a mother and daughter shot to death by a man who wouldn't leave them alone.

Friends say 46-year-old Kristine Cass of Makiki planned on getting a temporary restraining order (TRO) on her ex-boyfriend, Clayborne Conley, the night before she and her 13-year-old daughter, Saundra, were murdered.

A bill is now gaining momentum, in light of the killings.

With Kristine and Saundra Cass on their minds, loved ones marched silently at the capitol, and shared kind words at their vigil.

"She was just such a good person and her mom was just the greatest person out there and they were so kind and so giving and it really doesn't make sense why this had to happen to them," said Bond Bortman, Saundra's best friend and classmate at Sacred Hearts Academy.

Bortman says Cass never had anything bad to say about Conley, a former Hawaii National Guardsman who struggled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and had a violent past.

He spent time at the state hospital for a mental illness, but was released four months ago.

In 2007, Conley spent a couple days in jail for violating a TRO involving another woman.

Conley had also been convicted for assault, property damage, and terroristic threatening.

Bortman says the warning signs were blurry, but recently came into focus.

"The red flag was when he had come up to {Saundra} and just said I'm going to be with your mom whether you like it or not, so she told her mom and her mom just called it off," said Bortman.

Last Thursday, Honolulu police say Conley broke into the Cass's Makiki home, shot the two, then turned the gun on himself.

"I just wish that something could've stopped it but knowing how determined he was, he wouldn't have stopped," said Bortman.

The double murder-suicide has triggered a movement to revive a bill that would allow people to file a TRO electronically, and off-hours when courts are closed.

It's a measure spearheaded by House Human Services Chair, Representative John Mizuno.

But would it have been enough to save the Cass's lives?

"{Conley} was under psychiatric care, and he had a review coming up in December and my guess is, had that been filed, given his history, the police would've taken him in and taken notice so I do think it would've helped in this case, I really do," said Linda Tsai, Kristine's best friend.

Mizuno's bill stalled last session. He plans to introduce it again next year.

It's modeled after New Jersey law. A judge can take sworn testimony by phone, and issue a TRO online on nights, weekends, and after regular business hours.

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