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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, May 8, 2001

State to pay family $250,000 over Halawa inmate's death

By Ronna Bolante
Advertiser Staff Writer

The state has reached a $250,000 settlement with the family of a 26-year-old Halawa Correctional Facility inmate found dead in his cell two years ago.

The family of Antonio Revera filed a wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit against the state last year, contending that Revera died from head injuries after he was beaten by a Halawa sergeant and a guard while in restraints.

The settlement in the Revera case is "higher than most settlements regarding wrongful deaths of inmates," acknowledged Senior Deputy Attorney General Charles Fell.

"Basically when you represent the state in a case like this, you try to minimize the exposure to the state if you can do so by settlement. We felt badly about what happened. ... I'm happy that we could resolve it fairly."

Revera, a convicted rapist who was serving a 10-year sentence, was found dead in his cell following a scuffle with prison guards. An autopsy showed he had suffered head injuries.

Prison officials had said Revera was being transferred out of the facility's medical unit when he became unruly, bit a guard and had to be restrained by other guards.

Revera was given an injection to calm him, and was later found dead in a cell, officials said.

Police classified the death as a homicide after an investigation found that actions taken by guards caused Revera's death.

In 1999, an O'ahu grand jury indicted prison guard Brian Freitas, 33, on a manslaughter charge in the Revera case.

Fell said Freitas is awaiting trial.

"We felt that a fair argument could be made that one or more of the (adult correctional officers) should have intervened quicker to protect inmate Revera," Fell said. "Unfortunately, they didn't.

"We settled for an amount that we thought was fair."

The Revera case is part of a package of settlements and judgments approved by the state Legislature this year.