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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, August 30, 2001

Neighbor Island briefs

Advertiser Staff

Plea agreement in Las Vegas shooting

A 31-year-old man arrested in Las Vegas last year in the fatal shooting of a woman from Maui at Harrah's hotel-casino will enter into a plea agreement.

Michael Frimmel will plead guilty to four counts of burglary next month in exchange for a number of other charges, including murder, being dismissed. Frimmel's punishment could range from probation to as much as 10 years in prison.

Authorities believe that Frimmel and Stephen Mullen Jr. were involved in a number of thefts from casinos in the days leading up to the Sept. 8 death of Heather Vitarelli, a Baldwin High School graduate who attended college in Napa, Calif., and was vacationing with friends in Las Vegas.

Police said Mullen fired his gun while security officers were trying to detain him and Frimmel. One of the shots hit Vitarelli, 29, in the back, and the other hit a security guard in the abdomen. The guard survived.

Mullen has accepted a plea bargain and admitted that the state has enough evidence to convict him of first-degree murder and attempted murder. He will be sentenced Oct. 16.

Victim's brother is threat suspect

PUKALANI, Maui — The brother of a slain Maui woman whose body was found in a canefield last week has been arrested for allegedly threatening a possible suspect in the murder case.

Maui police said Brian Sagawinit, 40, went to the man's Pukalani home Tuesday night to confront him.

Sagawinit is the brother of 44-year-old Natalie Sagawinit, who died of a gunshot wound. Her body was found on a dirt access road in the canefield along Pulehu Road. Police said a rifle was recovered in the trunk of Sagawinit's vehicle.

A 39-year-old man, an acquaintance of the woman, was arrested in connection with the death. He was later released without being charged.

Sagawinit was being held at the Maui Community Correctional Center in lieu of $12,000 bail. He was charged with first-degree terroristic threatening and firearms offenses.

Escapee still loose on Big Island

HILO, Hawai'i — Police yesterday renewed their request for help in finding a Puna man who escaped from a Hilo jail almost three weeks ago.

Police have found no sign of Harry K. R. Harrison, 35, of Orchidland, since he broke away Aug. 10 from the crowded Punahele Street jail and ran off into a wooded area above the facility.

Harrison was awaiting trial on kidnapping, terroristic threatening and other charges stemming from a domestic dispute.

The escapee is an outdoorsman able to survive in the wild on his own, police said.

He is 5 feet 10, 190 pounds, and had a Mohawk haircut at the time of his escape.

Detective Duane Rapoza said Harrison is considered dangerous and should not be approached. Call Crime Stoppers Hawai'i at (808) 961-8300 in Hilo or (808) 329-8181 in Kona.