But the two are being prosecuted in Family Court in Kapolei because they were minors when they allegedly committed the crimes.
TOOK PHOTOS AND BRAGGED OF THEIR HORRIFIC CRIMES
According to civilbeat.org, 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.
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.
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.
In the end, sources said no favoritism was found and the case was later transferred to another prosecutor.
THE ALBATROSS IN FOLKLORE
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.
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.” -- Civilbeat.org
(HawaiiNewsNow - Dec 21, 2016)