In a rare application of Hawaii’s hate crime law and the first on Oahu, a grand jury returned an indictment yesterday charging a 37-year-old Waialae Nui man with using racial epithets in threats to kill his neighbor.
The indictment charges Thomas Fiust with first-degree terroristic threatening.
The crime is a class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison. But because the indictment also charges it as a hate crime, the maximum penalty doubles, and Fiust faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.
The alleged threats happened July 13 to Aug. 8, according to the indictment.
Fiust confessed to police and told them he threatened his 61-year-old neighbor to scare him, said Vickie Kapp, deputy city prosecutor.
Honolulu police said Fiust left multiple telephone messages telling his neighbor to get out of the neighborhood, threatening to kill the man and his family, to blow up their house and to kill all Jews. When his neighbor answered the phone and asked the caller if he was Tommy, his neighbor of 25 years, Fiust said, "No. I am not Tommy anymore. I am now God!"
Fiust called his neighbor a f—— Jew and told him to go back to Tel Aviv, Kapp said.
She said the neighbor was so scared he left the island just to get away from Fiust.
The neighbor and two family members have filed for temporary restraining orders against Fiust. A court hearing on the requests is scheduled for Friday.
Since the state’s hate crime law took effect in 2002, it has been charged in two cases, both on the Big Island.