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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, January 31, 2003

Big Island man wanted in Texas murder case agrees to extradition

By Kevin Dayton
Advertiser Big Island Bureau

HILO, Hawai'i — A Big Island man wanted in connection with a barroom slaying in Texas 15 years ago agreed yesterday to return to Texas to stand trial, but insisted he is innocent of the murder.

Juan Ferdin, 46, agreed through a Spanish-language interpreter to waive an extradition hearing, which means Texas authorities now have 30 days to return him to Dallas for trial.

In the meantime Ferdin, who is also known as Jose Francisco Martinez, is being held at the Hawai'i Community Correctional Center in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Dallas authorities yesterday said this is the second time they have tried to retrieve Ferdin from Hawai'i.

Ferdin was jailed in Hilo on drug and firearms charges in 1998, and a spokesman for the Dallas County Sheriff's Office said its records show an FBI fingerprint check identified him at the time as the Jose Francisco Martinez, who was wanted for murder in Texas.

Dallas authorities notified Hawai'i officials on May 21, 1998 that Ferdin was wanted there, according to a Dallas sheriff's spokesman, but Hawai'i reported back in 2001 that he was no longer in custody, but was "still in the area."

It was unclear yesterday what caused the delay. Ferdin pleaded no contest to two drug charges and being a felon in possession of a firearm in 1998 in Kona, and was sentenced to prison.

He was later released on parole, and was still on parole on Dec. 1, 2002 when he was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in Kona. That arrest led to another fingerprint match that landed Ferdin back in jail.

Deputy Public Defender Melody Parker told Circuit Court Judge Greg Nakamura that Ferdin has made a life for himself in Hawai'i and doesn't want to leave, but does want to "clear his name."

"Mr. Ferdin would like the court to know that he is innocent of the underlying charge, but understands the court cannot address his underlying guilt or innocence," Parker told Nakamura.

Detective Linda Crum with the Dallas Police Department homicide detail said the Dallas shooting occurred Jan. 4, 1988.

According to Dallas police records, the incident began when a man alleged to be Ferdin/Martinez walked into a Dallas bar and allegedly began shooting at a woman there.

Another man in the bar then produced a handgun and returned fire, and was fatally shot by the first gunman, Crum said. The arrest warrant identified the dead man as Miguel Martinez.

Reach Kevin Dayton at kdayton@honoluluadvertiser.com or (808) 935-3916.