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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, June 29, 2006

Security tight after alleged threats

By Kevin Dayton
Advertiser Big Island Bureau

HILO, Hawai'i A Hilo man accused of threatening to kill two police officers and their families faced a new charge yesterday of intimidating a witness in the case at the main Hilo jail.

Francis O. Carter, also known as "Adobo," was charged with making a threatening gesture at the witness Monday at Hawai'i Community Correctional Center.

A dozen or more supporters and members of Carter's family attended his Hilo District Court appearance yesterday, and security in Judge Matthew Pyun's courtroom was bolstered by a dozen sheriff's deputies and Department of Public Safety staff.

According to court records, Carter "made a shooting gesture with his hand" at the cell window of another inmate on Monday, prompting the new charge. The inmate is a witness in the case against Carter for allegedly threatening two police officers on the Big Island Ice Task Force.

The inmate who was allegedly threatened "was afraid to testify, and feared for his life," according to court records. Carter said he was charged in the police threatening case "because I am black and (the other inmate) is a white guy from the Mainland," according to court documents.

Carter knew the name of the witness because he had access to the arrest report in the case, according to court records.

Carter was originally charged with first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia.

He was released on $100,000 bail on those charges, and was re-arrested Friday at his Wainaku apartment complex in the terroristic threatening case.

Carter was then charged with two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening for allegedly threatening to kill two police officers and their families. The officers are part of the Big Island Ice Task Force, and were threatened because of their success in arresting methamphetamine dealers, police said.

The lead officer in the drug case against Carter was one of the officers Carter allegedly threatened, said Deputy Prosecutor Jason Skier.

Carter was being held yesterday at the Hawai'i Community Correctional Center in lieu of $400,000 bail. Pyun scheduled preliminary hearings for both the threatening and the witness intimidation cases for July 14.

Reach Kevin Dayton at kdayton@honoluluadvertiser.com.