Two more people charged in Kaena Point albatross killing case

Two more people charged in Kaena Point albatross killing case
Updated: Dec. 21, 2016 at 6:08 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The investigation into the killings of more than a dozen Laysan albatross last year at Kaena Point has netted charges against two more people.

But the two are being prosecuted in Family Court in Kapolei because they were minors when they allegedly committed the crimes.

A third person, 19-year-old Christian Gutierrez, was indicted by a grand jury last week on 14 counts of animal cruelty.

The incident shocked animal rights advocates.

"I can not think of a human being who would be willing to do something so horrific to an animal," said Cathy Goeggel, president of Animal Rights Hawaii.

Added Keith Dane, Hawaii policy adviser for the Humane Society of the United States: "This is a heinous crime against wildlife. We are calling for full penalties as provided by the law."

All three were part of a group of current and former Punahou School students who stayed overnight at the Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve last December.

"I'm glad something is happening but it should not take this long and they really should be charged with federal offenses," said Goeggel.

Hawaii News Now has learned that investigators had enough evidence to bring charges back in March.

The prosecutor initially assigned to the case was Katherine Kealoha, who's been under federal investigation.

Sources said the case stalled for several months partly because the FBI began asking questions about her cases. They said investigators wanted to know whether Kealoha was showing favoritism to some defendants on this and all other investigations she was involved with.

In the end, sources said no favoritism was found and the case was later transferred to another prosecutor.

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