Thursday, December 22, 2016

Hawaii: NYU student Christian Gutierrez, 19, accused of torturing albatross birds to death by beating them with a baseball bat, stabbing them with a machete, destroying their nests and cutting off their legs. Posted photos online and bragged of his crime, say authorities

HAWAII -- The investigation into the killings of more than a dozen Laysan albatross last year at Kaena Point has netted charges against two more people.

But the two are being prosecuted in Family Court in Kapolei because they were minors when they allegedly committed the crimes.


A third person, 19-year-old Christian Gutierrez, who is a college student at New York University, was indicted by a grand jury last week on 14 counts of animal cruelty. He was also indicted on theft and criminal property damage charges.


According to, all the details about the alleged albatross killers came indirectly from the suspects themselves who, at a party shortly after the Kaena incident, bragged to their peers about what they had done to the birds. Their boasting included showing the metal identification tags obtained by cutting off the albatrosses’ feet.


Some of their peers were stunned and told their parents. The word got out to Punahou School and others.

Oblivious to the reaction of their classmates, the suspects continued to show off the metal tags and even post pictures of the dead birds on their social media sites until eventually taking down the incriminating information.

What makes the alleged crime particularly horrific is nesting albatrosses are harmless, trusting creatures that are unafraid of human beings. By their nature, the birds stay close to their eggs and chicks no matter what’s happening around their nests.

They are big creatures. Up to 3 feet tall — the size of a human toddler — and can weigh up to 10 pounds. They can live more than 65 years.

The vulnerable Kaena albatrosses apparently were easy targets for the killers, who allegedly bashed the birds with a baseball bat, slashed some their bodies with a machete and shot others with a pellet gun.

Maunawili resident Kimo Smith was hiking with a friend at Kaena Point that morning when he found a dead albatross lying beside its egg, as well as a partially buried dead albatross and an abandoned albatross nest with a smashed egg.

Smith said his hiking companion was so upset she began crying.

He informed Young and VanderWerf, who went to the sanctuary to discover the body parts or entire bodies of four adult nesting albatrosses. Some of the birds were mutilated by having their feet cut off.

The additional 13 birds were never found. It is believed after the suspects killed them, they cut off their feet to remove their identification tags before they tossed their carcasses into the ocean.

In addition to the dead and missing birds, the suspects allegedly stole $3,100 worth of bird monitoring equipment and destroyed 17 albatross nests and smashed 17 albatross eggs.

Bloody feathers lay in piles where the missing birds had been nesting, indicating they met gruesome and cruel deaths. The ruined nests and dead adults were located in widely scattered locations over several acres in the reserve, indicating the perpetrators spent some time killing birds and dismembering their bodies.

The incident shocked animal rights advocates.

"I can not think of a human being who would be willing to do something so horrific to an animal," said Cathy Goeggel, president of Animal Rights Hawaii.

Added Keith Dane, Hawaii policy adviser for the Humane Society of the United States: "This is a heinous crime against wildlife. We are calling for full penalties as provided by the law."

All three were part of a group of current and former Punahou School students who, as part of a class field trip, stayed overnight at the Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve last December.

"I'm glad something is happening but it should not take this long and they really should be charged with federal offenses," said Goeggel.

Hawaii News Now has learned that investigators had enough evidence to bring charges back in March.

The prosecutor initially assigned to the case was Katherine Kealoha, who's been under federal investigation.

Katherine Kealoha

Sources said the case stalled for several months partly because the FBI began asking questions about her cases. They said investigators wanted to know whether Kealoha was showing favoritism to some defendants on this and all other investigations she was involved with.

In the end, sources said no favoritism was found and the case was later transferred to another prosecutor.

Gutierrez was released after posting $25,000 bail. He's due in court next Tuesday.


Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" tells us that the albatross is a powerful symbol of good luck — and that it can bring terrible misfortune or “bachi” to kill one.

In the poem, a sailor brings to an abrupt end the good sailing conditions his ship has been experiencing when for no reason he fires an arrow from his crossbow to kill a friendly albatross that had taken to following behind the ship.

After the bird’s death, the ship is cursed with life-threatening storms. The furious crew members punish the albatross killer by tying the dead albatross on a rope dangling from his neck.

In the poem, the sailor says: “Ah! well a-day that evil looks Had I from old and young! Instead of the cross, the Albatross About my neck was hung.” --

(HawaiiNewsNow - Dec 21, 2016)



  1. People like this, if not stopped, will go on to do the same things to their fellow humans.
    This person needs serious rehabilitation as well as lengthy prison time to contemplate his evil misdeeds.
    Do not let him off with a slap on the wrist, or your children will be his next victims.
    Just look in his eyes; do you see any regret or compassion theres?

    1. Yes regular fudge packing in prison for five or more years is what this idiot deserves.

    2. Hang um from the nearest available object ASAP, get rid of this cancer on life on this planet, eye for an eye time!

  2. To the parents of Christian Gutierrez:

    You’re probably good, decent people, but I have to ask; what did you do wrong that you ended up raising a monster? Make no mistake, your son isn’t a confused teenager, he’s a monster. Terrible things happen these days; serial killers, mass murder, evil on a scale that scars the soul just to read about it, and we wring our hands and ask why? How? What can we do? Well, your answer sits before you. We have such ugly times because we want to believe the best of people, which is lovely, but impractical. Monsters can be born monsters, monsters can be made by how they’re raised. Monsters can just happen, no matter how much we love our keiki. But we have to acknowledge that they are monsters, and no amount of love or compassion or time, money, or energy will ever make them into decent human beings. I feel bad for you. I feel bad for your monster son, even though, in the back of my head, I kind of wish that somebody does to him what he did to those defenseless animals. Your lives, as you have known them, are over. Your friends, your neighbors, will never look at you the same ever again. Everybody knows your son is a monster, and you raised him. There is simply no fixing what’s wrong in your son’s head. I weep for you. I weep for anybody and everybody who has to interact with your son in the future. He tortured and mutilated defenseless animals a year ago, and I have every confidence that he’ll torture and mutilate defenseless humans in the future. He’s a monster. That’s what monsters do.

  3. A person like this who can take the lives of defenseless animals with no remorse has the potential of becoming a serial killer later in life. For the protection of the public he should be put away for a long time and monitored for the rest of his life.

  4. He was let off without even a slap on the wrist. They dropped all but one charge for his 'cooperation'. His attorney asked for the sentence to be deferred so he wouldn't have to spend a day in jail.

  5. To the parents of Gutierrez:
    How can you even sleep at night? Your son and the others all deserve jail time and more.

  6. this not just crime against animals -- it is a crime against us all. These children should be incarcerated for many years and kept there after their sentence is served. I can think of no useful role they can fill in any civilized society.

  7. If this were my son I would have asked the judge to give him the full sentence. I would not defend my child. I'd want them to pay.

    This is beyond disgusting. Our legal system is a joke. Here comes another serial killer, make no mistake.

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  9. YES he might be young but I will take it upon myself to have my way with him like we were in Prison! he looks cute it won't take me too much to make him my GAL! prolly has a nice culo, tight since he is a criminal!! I like thank you!!!