Newly unsealed court records detail gruesome allegations in Miske murder case
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Newly unsealed court documents include disturbing new allegations in the murder case against Michael Miske, the businessman accused of running a criminal enterprise.
Miske is accused in the kidnapping and murder of 21-year old Johnathan Fraser.
The previously secret filings also link the murder case to the killing of another man, a confidential source who knew the information he provided law enforcement put him in danger.
More than 100 files were ordered to be unsealed by a federal judge after a successful legal challenge by non-profit group the Civil Beat Law Center for Public Interest.
Among the documents: Search warrant applications that included witness statements.
One of those witnesses was James Borling-Salas, who was 23 years old in December 2019, when he was brutally beaten in the Oahu Community Correctional Center. He was on life support for two weeks.
His mother, Janet Salas, was allowed to bring him to their Kapolei home to die.
Salas said she had tried to get her son moved to solitary before the attack. But instead, the jail put him in general population.
“His words was he’s a walking dead man,” Salas said, adding that he was jumped.
Borling-Salas was being held for a probation violation that stemmed from old drug crimes.
But it’s what he told authorities years earlier that made him a target.
The unsealed records show Borling-Salas, identified as a confidential source, reported that he saw Fraser in a Kalihi home after the 21-year-old was taken in November 2016.
Miske is accused of ordering and paying associates to torture Fraser and kill him because the alleged crime boss blamed him for a car accident that killed his son, Caleb.
That’s even though police records show it was Caleb Miske driving the car when it crashed.
The documents show that Borling-Salas reported that he saw “Fraser tied to a green plastic garden chair with zip-tie restraints and duct tape” and that “he had a bloodied face.”
Borling-Salas also reported that known Miske associates Jacob Smith and Lance Bermudez were in the home and “started burning Frasier’s feet and hands” using a propane gas torch.
The records show that they “eventually worked their way up Fraser’s body.”
Days later, when Borling-Salas returned to the Kalihi home, the documents say he saw a “very large pot cooking on the stove” and “observed a very large bone sticking out of the pot.”
He reported that “flesh began to fall away from the bone, and he believed the bone to be human.”
Borling-Salas confided what he saw to his family.
“My mom told him to do the right thing. He listened, he did the right thing, that cost him his life,” Salas said.
Salas said her son had nightmares after that incident.
She is suing the state Department of Public Safety for failing to keep her son safe while he was in custody. She said she had asked repeatedly for protection given his status as a confidential source.
Salas said the lack of compassion for her son’s situation will make other confidential sources think twice about assisting authorities.
“Tells them not to do the right thing because if they do the right thing they’ll end up the same way ― dead,” she said.
Months after Borling-Salas’ death, federal prosecutors filed charges and arrested Miske and many others, calling the alleged crime organization “The Miske Enterprise.”
Miske is charged with Fraser’s kidnapping, murder and numerous other crimes and is awaiting trial next spring. Smith and Bermudez have taken plea deals, admitting to robbery, racketeering and drug crimes, but not murder.
Copyright 2022 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.