Puna Man Arrested for Multiple Offenses Including Impersonating a Law Enforcement Officer

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged a 27-year-old former resident of Pāhoa with several offenses stemming from incidents that occurred in the Puna District last weekend.

Phillip Jon Richardson

Phillip Jon Richardson

On May 4, at 8:05 pm, Phillip Jon Richardson, who has no permanent address, was arrested at a home on 18th Avenue in Hawaiian Paradise Park. The 28-year-old female victim reported that as she was dropping off a relative at the residence, the suspect opened her car door, identified himself as a police officer and demanding the car keys. The victim said that the suspect grabbed her and was forcibly trying to pull her out of the vehicle in an attempt to take the vehicle. During the confrontation, another relative in the same vehicle used his cell phone to call 911. However, the suspect removed the phone from the 76-year-old victim before he could complete the call.

The 28-year-old victim managed to call a 29-year-old man on her cell phone to ask for assistance. As he arrived at the property, the suspect then attempted to enter the 29-year-old man’s vehicle. When he was unable to do so, the suspect reached into the vehicle, grabbing the victim’s arm and attempted to open the vehicle’s door. The suspect reportedly left the scene in a pickup truck.

A short time later, police received a report of a pickup truck ramming into a house on 17th Avenue, causing damage to the wooden structure. A 36-year-old female occupant of the residence told police that the male driver exited the truck and was seen entering her house through a window. As police arrived in the area, the pickup truck was observed fleeing the scene. The suspect abandoned the truck and fled on foot into the bushes. The victim discovered that a safe had been stolen from the house and a parked vehicle on the property had been entered with items removed.

During the investigation, police also received a report from a 63-year-old man from 1st Avenue, who informed police that while in his house, a pickup truck pulled into his property and the male suspect forced his way into the victim’s home and removed a computer before fleeing the area.

No one was seriously injured during these crimes.

Richardson was being held in the police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

At 7 p.m. Monday (May 6), after conferring with prosecutors, detectives charged Richardson with two counts of second-degree attempted robbery, one count of phone ripping, one count of impersonating a law enforcement officer, two counts of first-degree burglary, one count of first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, one count of fourth-degree criminal property damage and one count of resisting an order to stop. Richardson’s bail was set at $83,000. He was scheduled to make his initial court appearance Tuesday afternoon (May 7).

UH Hilo Hosts Abraham Lincoln Symposium

In conjunction with the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo hosts the James Oliver Horton Symposium on Abraham Lincoln on Saturday, May 25 from 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. in UCB Room 100. A second day of the symposium will be held at UH Manoa on Sunday, May 26.


The symposium, named after James Oliver Horton, the Benjamin Banneker Professor of American Studies and History at George Washington University and Historian Emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, features a trio of renowned and respected guest speakers.

The President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy at Albany Law School, Paul Finkelman presents “How a Railroad Lawyer Became The Great Emancipator.” Finkelman, who has lectured throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America has authored over 30 books, along with various legal opinions which have been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Orville Vernon Burton, distinguished professor of humanities, professor of history and computer science at Clemson University, and the director of the Clemson Cyber Institute, speaks on “Lincoln, Emancipation, and Education.” A prolific and acclaimed author and historian, Burton’s The Age of Lincoln (2007) won numerous awards, was nominated for a Pulitzer, and had one reviewer proclaiming that, “If the Civil War era was America’s ‘Illiad,’ then historian Orville Vernon Burton is our latest Homer.”

University of Richmond President Edward L. Ayers presents “Where Did Freedom Come From?” Awarded the National Professor of the Year from the Carnegie Foundation, his numerous awards include the Bancroft Prize for Distinguished Writing in American History and the Beveridge Prize for the Best Book in English on the history of the Americas since 1492 for In the Presence of Mine Enemies, Civil War in the Heart of America (2004). Ayers is also a co-host of Back Story with the American History Guys, a nationally syndicated radio show that ties history to the present day.

The program will be followed by a light reception from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. in UCB 127 where members of the audience will have an opportunity to meet and talk with the guest speakers.

Tickets for these limited seating events, including the reception, are $8 and available online at http://lincoln.hawaii-conference.com/ or by calling the UH Hilo Conference Center at 974-7555.

The symposium is largely underwritten by generous grants from the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation, Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities, and the Dorrance Scholarship Programs’ Charitable Fund. Additional funding and support for the symposium comes from UH Hilo, UH Hilo Student Activities Council and UH Manoa College of Education.

For more information about the symposium, visit http://lincoln.hawaii-conference.com/.

Department of Education Implements Guidelines for Displaying Third-Party Materials at School Campuses

The growing number of promotional brochures and flyers being issued and distributed on public school campuses has prompted a new set of guidelines by the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE).

DOE Release

The guidelines restrict the dissemination of school-approved third-party marketing, advertising and/or promotional materials to the following distribution methods:

  • Posting on a school’s community bulletin board.
  • Placing the brochures in a magazine rack display.
  • Leaving a stack of registration forms at a side counter or table in the school front office.

These guidelines do not apply to programs or activities that the DOE or the school has affirmatively endorsed or sponsored, including programs or activities conducted by county agencies or federal agencies. School resources, staff and teacher time while on campus should remain dedicated to students. This principle is consistent with the State’s Ethics Code that bars use of public school supplies, equipment, or instructional time to promote private business purposes. The DOE is particularly sensitive to any elements that may distract students on campus or in their classrooms.

The DOE recognizes that some parents may want information about enrichment activities for their children such as private tutoring, music lessons or sports camps. These types of promotional materials may be displayed in a designated area at the school. The school may also refuse to display any material that is deemed inappropriate, offensive or promote illegal activity.

The DOE remains committed to ensuring that school campuses are healthy learning environments for students and staff. For more information, please see hawaiidoe.org.




Traffic Stop in Kona Leads to Arrests of Three People in Two Separate Cars

A routine traffic stop in Kona has led to the arrests of three persons in two separate cars.

At 9:40 p.m. Saturday (May 4), a Kona patrol officer made a traffic stop on a car occupied by two women. During the stop, the officer observed drug paraphernalia in the car and later recovered a glass smoking pipe and two small plastic bags containing residue of a white powdery substance. Police arrested the driver, 47-year-old Grace Duguran of Kailua-Kona, and her passenger, 37-year-old Danette Corrales of Pāhala, on suspicion of promoting a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia.

Chito Reno Asuncion

Chito Reno Asuncion

While officers were waiting with the women for a blue-and-white police vehicle to arrive, a man in a Kia sedan passed them twice and yelled at one of the women. An officer recognized the Kia’s driver as 37-year-old Chito Reno Asuncion of Pāhala, who was wanted on three bench warrants. As an officer attempted to make a traffic stop on the Kia, it sped toward two other officers who were standing on the road signaling for him to stop. The officers had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit but were not injured.

Other officers stopped the Kia and arrested Asuncion on the warrants for two counts of contempt of court and one count of failure to appear. His bail on those charges was set at $20,300. He was also arrested on suspicion of reckless endangering. He was taken to the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

On Sunday (May 5), police obtained a search warrant for the Kia and recovered a glass smoking pipe and a small plastic bag with residue of a white powdery substance, as well as brass knuckles.

Also Sunday, the two women from the initial traffic stop were released pending further investigation.

On Monday, Asuncion went to court on the bench warrants and then was returned to the Kona cellblock. At 6 p.m. Monday, detectives charged him with two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening, two counts of second-degree reckless endangering, carrying a deadly weapon, resisting an order to stop, driving with an expired license, promoting a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia. His bail on those offenses was set at $12,000. His initial court appearance on those charges is scheduled for Tuesday (May 7).