Question: Whatever happened to the case against a Kahuku farmer who was charged with murder after fatally shooting a man who allegedly threatened him while trying to steal his crops in 2004?
Answer: The Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office said it has closed the case against farmer Khamxath Baccam and will not refile criminal charges after a judge dismissed a second-degree murder charge in 2006.
Baccam was accused of fatally shooting Marcelino Pacheco, 38, who was found dead on Malaekahana Road on Sept. 7, 2004, after Baccam walked into the Wahiawa District Police Station to report the incident.
Baccam fired a shotgun in self-defense because he “faced a terrifying encounter and felt the need to protect himself,” his attorney, Todd Eddins, said at a Sept. 14, 2004, court hearing.
Pacheco bled to death from shotgun-pellet wounds in the legs and thigh. City Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. William Goodhue testified at a hearing in 2004 that Pacheco had crystal methamphetamine in his system, which contributed to the bleeding.
Pacheco had 24 prior arrests and three convictions for petty misdemeanors, police reported. Baccam had no criminal record.
Acting Circuit Judge Hilary Gangnes dismissed the second-degree murder charge on Nov. 8, 2006, because the prosecutor’s office took longer than 180 days to bring the case to trial, in violation of Hawaii’s speedy trial law.
But Gangnes ruled that city prosecutors could reinstate the charge. Deputy Prosecutor Russell Uehara said at the time that the office was considering refiling a murder or a manslaughter charge as well as engaging in plea negotiations.
The prosecutor’s office said this week it would not refile the case in light of the decision to not refile made by the office under then-Prosecutor Peter Carlisle, now Honolulu mayor. Keith Kaneshiro succeeded Carlisle as prosecutor.
“We don’t want to second-guess the decision that the office under Carlisle made,” said Dave Koga, spokesman for Kaneshiro’s office.
Eddins said earlier in the week he thought the chance of charges being refiled against Baccam would be “highly improbable.”
Eddins said it is likely Baccam, a native of Laos who moved to Hawaii in the late 1980s, still lives on Oahu. The Star-Advertiser was unable to determine Baccam’s whereabouts.
This update was written by Lynn Nakagawa. You can write to us at Whatever Happened To …, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-210, Honolulu 96813; call 529-4747; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.