Continued Court Delays Frustrate Murder Victim's Loved Ones

Kevin Callahan
Kevin Callahan

MILILANI (KHNL) -- A family frustrated with the slow judicial process for a juvenile accused in Karen Ertell's rape and murder. It happened last May in Ewa Beach. Since then, multiple delays in family court to determine whether the suspect will be tried as a juvenile or an adult.

"By June 10th, it'll be over a year since Karen was killed and nothing's happened," said Kevin Callahan, Ertell's longtime boyfriend.

The latest waiver hearing was scheduled for this week, but again, another delay. For the family, this latest postponement symbolizes the frustration they feel about the legal system. They say it pevents them from going through the grieving process.

Almost a year after Karen Ertell was brutally raped and murdered in Ewa Beach, still no court date for the teenager charged with the crime. Family court is trying to decide whether he will be tried as a juvenile or an adult.

"We don't want him back on the streets," said Callahan. "We think he deserves punishment for his crimes."

This week's postponement is the sixth for his waiver hearing.

It was originally scheduled for July of last year.

Then postponed to September, then November. January, February, April, and now June.

"Well, it's frustrating," said Callahan. "Just prolongs the agony and even though a court date won't settle anything, it won't give us closure."

A series of three bills called "Karen's Law" was introduced this session, calling for 15 to 17 year olds accused of first and second degree murders to be tried as adults. But they failed, because some lawmakers say it's not necessary.

"They rationalize this by saying they've all been waived the last ten years, so if that's true why not send them straight to adult court, and avoid all this anguish and avoid the taxpayers' money and go ahead and protect the community from violent criminals," said Callahan.

All the postponements and no court date almost a year later leave those who were close to Ertell frustrated and angry.

"It's just another month or two that we have to sit around thinking about it every day," said Callahan. "Is it going to get waived or not? And the anguish is unbelievable. There's daily torment no matter what. You never stop thinking about her. Everything reminds you of Karen.}

The next waiver hearing is scheduled for June 10, just two weeks after the one year anniversary of Karen's murder.