Ex-HPD of­fi­cer gets pro­ba­tion over death of Mililani jog­ger

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - LOCAL - By Gregg K. Kake­sako gkake­sako@starad­ver­tiser.com

In sen­tenc­ing a re­tired Honolulu po­lice ma­jor to five years of pro­ba­tion in con­nec­tion with the death of a Mililani jog­ger, Cir­cuit Judge Dean Ochiai de­scribed the case as a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion in­volv­ing two “good peo­ple.”

In July, Charles T. Dun­can, a re­tired traf­fic in­ves­ti­ga­tor for the Honolulu Po­lice Depart­ment with more than 30 years of ser­vice, pleaded no con­test to sec­ond-de­gree neg­li­gent homi­cide af­ter the pickup truck he was driv­ing struck and killed Shari Afuso, 49, on Feb. 5, 2015, while she was jog­ging in Mililani.

Ad­dress­ing Afuso’s fam­ily mem­bers who were present in the court­room, Dun­can apol­o­gized “for all the pain I have caused.” He added, “I ac­cept full re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

Dun­can broke down in tears when he told Afuso’s hus­band, Mark, her par­ents, and brother that her death was “a bur­den I will carry for the rest of my life.”

As he closed his emo­tional ap­peal to the vic­tim’s fam­ily, Dun­can said: “I can only hope that some­day, in your heart, you will be able to find peace and for­give­ness as I will never for­get Mrs. Afuso nor will I for­give my­self for what oc­curred that fate­ful night.”

Af­ter the sen­tenc­ing Dun­can hugged and con­soled mem­bers of Afuso’s fam­ily as they filed out of the court­room.

Deputy Prose­cu­tor Scott Bell had sought a three­month prison term, five years of pro­ba­tion and the sus­pen­sion of driv­ing priv­i­leges while on pro­ba­tion.

Richard Sing, Dun­can’s at­tor­ney, ar­gued against any prison term and sought a de­ferred ac­cep­tance of guilt, which would have meant that Dun­can’s crim­i­nal con­vic­tion would have been stricken if he stayed out of trou­ble un­til the terms of his sen­tence were com­pleted.

Ochiai de­nied the mo­tion for deferral and let the con­vic­tion of neg­li­gent homi­cide re­main on his record. The judge then sen­tenced Dun­can, 73, to pro­ba­tion for five years.

How­ever, Ochiai al­lowed Dun­can, a Mililani res­i­dent, to re­tain his driver’s li­cense be­cause he serves as his ail­ing wife’s care­taker. Dun­can will be al­lowed to drive only be­tween 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. The judge re­voked Dun­can’s mo­tor­cy­cle op­er­a­tor’s li­cense.

In ad­di­tion to pro­ba­tion, Dun­can was or­dered to per­form 1,176 hours of com­mu­nity ser­vice.

The judge said sen­tenc­ing tied to such a case is a dif­fi­cult task.

“I know, truly, both sides are good peo­ple and this is one of those cases in which some­thing in the heav­ens went hay­wire to bring these good peo­ple to­gether with this tragic re­sult,” Ochiai said.

Afuso, the court­room man­ager for U.S. Mag­is­trate Judge Kevin S.C. Chang, was struck in a cross­walk a few blocks from her Mililani home.

Po­lice said Dun­can, driv­ing a 2012 Chevro­let pickup, was mak­ing a left turn off Me­heula Park­way at Kua­he­lani Av­enue at about 7 p.m. when he hit Afuso. She was taken to the Queen’s Med­i­cal Cen­ter, and died there the fol­low­ing day.

Dun­can, who re­tired from the Honolulu Po­lice Depart­ment in 1996, said he had stopped at the cross­walk and didn’t see Afuso un­til he hit her.

Tommy Aiu, who knew Afuso when he worked for 30 years as a fed­eral agent, asked for le­niency for Dun­can. Shortly be­fore the ac­ci­dent, Dun­can had at­tended an evening meet­ing re­gard­ing the Hawaii Law En­force­ment Me­mo­rial Foun­da­tion, of which Aiu is chair­man.

“It’s a tragedy that we lost Shari be­cause she was such a great lady,” Aiu told

Ochiai. “Both sides are im­por­tant to me be­cause I’ve known both par­ties. I know there is no mal­ice in­volved here. It’s just a ter­ri­ble, hor­ri­ble ac­ci­dent.”


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