A 31-year-old man accused of manslaughter in the death of his 61-year-old father in Waipahu made his initial appearance Friday via video teleconferencing from the police cellblock to a makeshift courtroom set up in a nearby conference room at the Honolulu Police Department main headquarters.
Since Tuesday, district court judges, deputy public defenders, deputy prosecutors and clerks have been temporarily using the conference room to comply with state and city emergency orders to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Under normal circumstances, Lanch A. Corpuz would have made his initial appearance on the felony charge at the Honolulu District Court in downtown Honolulu, about a mile from HPD. It’s unclear how long the conference room will be used for such hearings for in-custody defendants held at the police cellblock.
State Judiciary spokeswoman Jan Kagehiro said they are continuing to review operations to ensure the health and safety of court staff and other participants “while also maintaining core liberties and due process.”
Corpuz appeared before Judge Sherri-Ann Iha during the videoconference and is charged with manslaughter in the death of his father, identified by a family member as Nelson D. Corpuz. The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s Officer said the elder Corpuz died from blunt-force head trauma.
The alleged attack occurred at a care home, said Deputy Public Defender Megan McDonald.
Police said the defendant punched his father during an argument Monday. The victim was taken in critical condition to a hospital, where he died the next morning.
Deputy Prosecutor Pearl Tamayo requested that Corpuz’s $20,000 bail be increased to $250,000, but McDonald noted Corpuz is unemployed and that $20,000 bail would be more than adequate to keep him in custody.
Iha confirmed bail at $20,000 and set Corpuz’s preliminary hearing for Tuesday.
If convicted of manslaughter, he faces up to 20 years in prison.