Man, 40, convicted in 14-hour drug rage
By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Robbie Dingeman
A jury yesterday found a 40-year-old Chinatown man guilty of attempted murder, kidnapping and terroristic threatening during a 14-hour drug- and alcohol-fueled ordeal that started with the man arguing with his wife and ended with him facing the possibility of a life sentence.
William Alston was found guilty of four counts of kidnapping as well as the attempted murder and threatening charges. The jury found him not guilty of three sexual-assault charges.
Sentencing is set for Dec. 13. Judge Dexter Del Rosario granted city prosecutor Peter Carlisle's request to revoke Alston's bail.
The charges stem from a bizarre incident that began with the argument at about 2 a.m. May 2 of last year at Alston's 18th-floor apartment. William Swann, who was among several people in the apartment with the Alstons, testified that he was stabbed and set on fire by Alston after he tried to break up the couple's argument.
Swann said Alston threatened to kill him, then tied up him, Alston's wife, a 50-year-old woman and Cliff Marable. The other woman had accused Alston of sex assault, but the seven-man, five-woman jury found him not guilty of those charges.
Carlisle said the ordeal ended after Alston let his wife go to buy juice and candy for the diabetic Marable and crack cocaine and she told police what was going on.
Carlisle said this was one of the few cases he's seen of "drug-induced type rage that didn't include crystal methamphetamine." He said this case showed the danger of crack cocaine as well as the potential for domestic violence to quickly escalate.
"We cannot ever forget that crack cocaine and other drugs like it are remarkably dangerous as well," Carlisle said. "Our real problem is addictions, and a lot of people involved in this case suffered from addictions."
Defense attorney Nelson Goo argued against the bail revocation, saying he didn't see a need for it since Alston already was being held at Halawa prison and had not been able to post the existing bail. "It doesn't matter what the bail is," Goo said.
Goo said there would be a motion for appeal and new trial on Alston's behalf. Goo said he believed the severity of Swann's injuries and the photographs that showed them were "just horrific" and convinced the jury to convict.
Carlisle said Alston will face a minimum prison term of 15 years because Swann was over 60 years old. He said Alston could receive a life sentence either with or without the possibility of parole.
Goo said that even though the three victims "were all into the drug scene" and drunk, the defense was an uphill battle.
Carlisle said the fact that the victims themselves were breaking the law showed the system still worked.
"It shows it doesn't matter who you are as a victim, you're all protected by the law," he said. "I believe justice was served."
Reach Robbie Dingeman at firstname.lastname@example.org.