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Teen pleads not guilty to Kaena Point albatross killings

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    Christian Gutierrez appears in a Honolulu courtroom today to plead not guilty to animal cruelty charges in connection with the deaths of seabirds at the Kaena Point nature reserve in December 2015. (AP photo/Jennifer Kelleher)


    An albatross was found dead at Kaena Point, on a nest with an egg, in December 2015.

A 19-year-old college student accused of killing seabirds at an Oahu nature reserve pleaded not guilty today to animal cruelty.

Defendant Christian Gutierrez didn’t speak with reporters as he and his attorney left a Honolulu courthouse after the brief arraignment.

He turned himself in to the state Department of Public Safety last week and was released on $25,000 bail. He made arrangements with prosecutors to surrender while he was home in Honolulu for winter break from school, defense attorney Myles Breiner said. Gutierrez attends New York University.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources began investigating after three Laysan albatrosses were found dead last year in Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve. There were also 15 destroyed nests with smashed, dead or missing eggs, the department said.

The Laysan albatross is a federally protected species.

Court documents charging Gutierrez, a 2015 Punahou School graduate, with 14 counts of animal cruelty and other charges say the crimes took place Dec. 27, 2015.

Breiner said last week that his client was camping at Kaena Point with schoolmates from Punahou.

“He was there when this happened but he did not injure any birds,” Breiner said. “He didn’t do it. He didn’t maim or touch the animals, period.”

Breiner said there have been two other arrests related to the case that are being handled in juvenile court.

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  • So what is the point of pointing out that he graduated (don’t know his grades) from Punahou. Does that make any difference? Bet the school is not happy for the mention. Is he getting ready for an “Affluenza” defense? That being at Punahou makes him “entitled”? At least, so far, no responsible adult has come forward to defend him. Maybe he had no responsible adult growing up.

    • Yes, it is an embarrassment to Punahou. No question. There is more to this story than is here reported I am told. Hard to admire Punahou though. Mainly a football school now. Iolani passed them up some years ago according to ratings reported in the Washington Post.

      • I’m not a Punahou fan but i do know they put out a lot of bright students. And, if given the choice, my kids would go to Iolani. You keep saying “I am told” but hard to believe you when you only comment after the fact.

        • Punahou enrolls many bright children, many of whom come from upper middle class and upper class parents. One might expect them to do very well and….umm…they do. How much credit should the school get? Open question one would suppose. I am proud of being a North Dakota public school product. In my state, we invest in public education and our scores are excellent even though teachers make far less than out here. A state needs to commit to public education. Some states have. Hawaii has not done so yet.

        • Is being a billionaire really a marker of “success”? And graduating people who become president is sort of not a relevant indicator of a school’s overall success. Obama himself had real disagreements with Punahou and he states them in his 2 books. Not sure he credits Punahou with his success at all.

        • Lespark, doesn’t matter. The FACT is was and is the President of the US for two terms and was born in Hawaii and attended private school Punahou. My contention, whether Obama hates Punahou or not; had Obama attended public schools in Hawaii he would have NEVER been President of the United States. His father and mother might not have been all there for him but his Caucasian maternal grandmother was instrumental in giving her grandson the best chance in life by supporting his education at Punahou. Punahou teaches their students to be leaders and not followers and tries to give them the right attitude to succeed in this world. They got a a few bad apples and now they need to get rid of them. Of course Iolani is also top notch but they don’t have the name recognition and super deep pockets like Punahou (ie billionaire alumni like Case and Omydiar) and have reached a level of accompishment to social experiment like Hanahauoli school, by providing full scholarship to former public school students who do NOT always have the highest GPA and standardized test scores but maybe have the ‘IT’ factor like Obama.

        • Actually Iolani had a national leader graduate from the school way before Obama, Sun Yat Sen. He is the first president and founding father of the republic of china which was impressive given that he actually had to help lead an overthrow of another government.

    • Yes, strange to mention Punahou, as if it has anything to do with albatross killing. Will this be a new journalistic trend? “Aiea grad robs bank?” “UH grad elected to City Council?” Maybe the writer was rejected five years ago (when he was an 8th grader), holds a grudge against Punahou?

    • Yes, mentioning Punahou is RELEVANT. The nexus of this case is that ALL those charged with brutally killing these protected birds are from Punahou school. The others charged are from Punahou, however because they are minors their names will not be released. They either were classmates or in some common Punahou group, although Guiterez is the oldest and in a different class. You better believe Punahou is doing internal investigations on their own. If the other current Punahou kids are convicted in family court, they could and should be expelled from school.

      • agree. And there is much more to this story than SA reports. And yes, Punahou is investigating what happened and why. There is real concern, and there should be, on the Punahou campus.

        • you are so FOS its beyond comedic. for someone from some hick state up north you sure know lots about local politics and education. only an old man who’s lived here for a looooong time would know these things. Serial liar.

      • I don’t care what school these kids attend unless it was a school related outing. The main thing is that if he did the crime then he must man up and do the time. If he didn’t do it like he says then he needs to name those that did the crime.

  • Wow, Myles Breiner again? Buggah busy nowadays. Besides this guy, Breiner is defending the Kealoha’s; one of the guys in the game room that was roughed up and suing HPD; and Tamila Alcoran the office manager that stole $1.3 million from the landscaping company. I know I saw his name come up in other cases recently. I thought Michael Green handled plenty cases, but, Breiner is now the name in the news. Gotta keep him in mind IF I ever get in trouble. Going take me forever to pay him though. No more $$$.

  • NYU…it figures. It’s the smug, elitest, Libtard capital of New York. I think that what this cowardly POS did to those defenseless & protected birds, should be done to him. In public. THAT is a deterrent.

    • IF he’s found guilty, I hope NYU boots him because of the negativity it’ll bring to the campus. But he’ll have his day in court first…

      (yeah, right…didn’t TOUCH one single bird while his buddies were on a killing spree..)

  • Why is this case in State Court and not in Federal Court? Though the incident happened in a State park, the crime was against a federally protected bird. There are too many local influences to the local court system, that may affect sentencing if found guilty. Federal court system does not bow to local influences and the sentencing has more impact as a deterrent. The fact that Kealoha was assigned this case and the case has been delayed due to concerns regarding her legal challenges is another reason why this should not be in State court system. Why have all her cases challenged if she is found guilty? There must be more to this case than the public has access to…..

    • interesting. Gutierrez might argue, though, that his crime occurred before he enrolled at NYU. Of course, he is maintaining that he was present when the crime was committed but was not the one to do it. Apparently the younger Punahou students present have been charged with the same crime. As juveniles, their identities will not be released.

      • All the Punahou kids charged with the same crime, correct. They all got expelled from Punahou, except G, who went to college, the other ones fleeing to a Mainland boarding school (Maine). This is not news, pretty much everyone knows it. The former juveniles are not now, they are 18. Will be interesting to see how this plays out, if Gutierrez rats out who actually committed the crime, as he’s the first one up. He’s got a good attorney, we’ll see.

  • Teens verses Laysan Albatross in Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve. Killed three , destroyed nests , with smashed dead or missing eggs. The seabirds haven’t had the ghost of a chance to survive! Cruelty at its worse without legitimate reasons for their actions equates killing of innocent human being. All living entities, protected within the realm of a Natural Area of Reservation should be respected! To do otherwise, and if found guilty, should be punished accordingly !

  • Plead guilty a year in jail and $1000 fine. Plead not guilty then found guilty $25,000.00 plus fine and 5 years in jail at least and raise the bill for us tax payers for his room and board.

  • Accomplice as co-conspirator with juveniles? Hmmmm. Going to watch this one. Punahou has its share of bad eggs like every school, yes. But I think character building has not been emphasized for a while. We’ll see if this kid tried to stop the mayhem or just let evil deeds stand. Hope the truth comes out at trial, as opposed to trial by media.

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