Key witnesses in Big Island homicide case plead the Fifth - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Key witnesses in Big Island homicide case plead the Fifth

Barton Bumatay Barton Bumatay
Eric Fontes, Jr. Eric Fontes, Jr.

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - The state is reorganizing its case against a man accused of a fatal shooting on the Big Island after two prosecution witnesses refused to testify.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports Sharina Pavao and Christian Alameda invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination Friday at a preliminary hearing for Eric Fontes Jr., who is charged with murder in the death of 59-year-old Barton Bumatay.

Court documents say Alameda and another state witness, Shannon Souza, told police that 34-year-old Fontes had forced them at gunpoint to help dispose of Bumatay's body New Year's Day.

The documents say Pavao told police Fontes had bragged about the killing and making the two men chop up the body.

Deputy Prosecutor Kevin Hashizaki says the state's case will depend on how it can work with the witnesses' attorneys.

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