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Kaneohe man charged with setting friend on fire

  • 20140508_Lonzaga_Joel.jpg

A 44-year-old Kaneohe man was charged Friday with attempted murder for allegedly setting his gasoline-soaked drinking buddy on fire.

Joel Lonzaga was charged with second-degree attempted murder, third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and possession of drug paraphernalia. He remains in police custody with a bail of $200,000.

On Wednesday, Lonzaga and his friend started drinking beer early in the day in the carport-turned-patio of Lonzaga’s mother’s house, where he lives, neighbors said.

Police said an argument ensued between the pair at about 6:15 p.m. at the house at 45-1035-F Anoi Road, and Lonzaga allegedly dumped the contents of a plastic gasoline can on the other man’s head.

The mother and Lonzaga’s cousin, who also lives there, tried to intervene, telling the man to leave, but Lonzaga got around them and, with a lighter, set the man on fire, police said.

Lonzaga’s family and neighbors watched as the 47-year-old man burned.

Flames shot up four to five feet above the roof of the carport, said one neighbor, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation.

Police said the flames lasted for 30 to 45 seconds.

The 47-year-old victim was taken to Straub Clinic & Hospital in critical but stable condition, police said.

The mother and cousin helped detain Lonzaga before police arrived. He was taken to Castle Medical Center for reasons unclear.

Police arrested Lonzaga at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Second-degree attempted murder carries a life sentence.

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