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Two accused of racing plead not guilty in death of 11-year-old Waimanalo boy

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 10:20 a.m. HST, Aug 11, 2011


One of the two men charged with manslaughter in the death of an 11-year-old boy in Waimanalo last summer denied he was racing on Kalanianaole Highway with a friend, his attorney said this morning.

Travis Murray, 21, entered a plea of not guilty before Circuit Judge Richard Perkins and will go on trial the week of Oct. 10.

Also arraigned before Perkins was former Pearl Harbor Shipyard worker Herbert Kaio-Campbell, 21, who is being held at Oahu Community Correctional Center unable to post $75,000 bail. Kaio-Campbell also entered a plea of not guilty and is scheduled for trial along with Murray.

The two were indicted by an Oahu grand jury Aug. 3 for the manslaughter death of Samuel Kassebeer, as well as two counts of second-degree assault.

Police said the two allegedly were racing each other in Waimanalo on July 25, 2010, when Kaio-Campbell slammed into a car, ejecting 11-year-old Samuel Kassebeer who was a back-seat passenger. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene.

Michael Green, Murray's attorney, told reporters following the arraignment that Murray denies that he was racing with Kaio-Campbell and was "driving close to the speed limit."

Jeff Hawk, Kaio-Campbell's attorney, said his client is "extremely remorseful for what happened," but can't comment on the reports the two were racing.

 City prosecutors said Kaio-Campbell had a blood-alcohol content of 0.10. It is unlawful for anyone 21 or older to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher and unlawful for anyone under 21 to operate a vehicle with any amount of alcohol in his system.

Police said the two  were leapfrogging each other in no-passing zones when Kaio-Campbell slammed into a car making a left turn in front of him. Kaio-Campbell's car was traveling 77 mph at the time of the impact, prosecutors said.

The impact ejected Kassebeer, who was the back-seat passenger, and Eunice "Ming Toi" Goo, who was a front-seat passenger.

Two months before the crash the Honolulu Fire Department had awarded Kaio-Campbell with a civilian medal of valor for rescuing a swimmer from rough surf.

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