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Man set on fire in Hilo; suspect is charged

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Dalston Cortez, 24, of Hilo. Cortez has been charged after he allegedly set a 30-year-old man on fire in Hilo.

A 24-year-old man has been charged after he allegedly set a 30-year-old man on fire in Hilo.

Dalston Cortez is expected to appear in District Court of the Third Circuit today after prosecutors charged him Monday with first-degree assault. He remains in custody in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Police said the victim was visiting a mutual friend at an Akolea Road home at about 1:30 p.m. Friday when a suspect, later identified as Cortez, arrived.

Cortez reportedly threw an unknown flammable liquid on the victim and set him on fire. The assault is believed to stem from a previous disagreement between the two men who know one another.

The 30-year-old man sustained second-degree and third-degree burns to his lower torso and thighs. He was transported by private vehicle to Hilo Medical Center and flown to Oahu.

Police said he is in fair condition at Straub Medical Center.

Cortez turned himself in at the Pahoa police station Saturday night.

Anyone who witnessed the assault is asked to call the police department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311. Individuals may also call Det. Todd Pataray of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at 961-2382 or e-mail Todd.Pataray@hawaiicounty.gov.

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