Man Charged With Manslaughter Changes Plea

December 2, 2019, 8:00 AM HST (Updated December 2, 2019, 8:00 AM)
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A man accused of hitting and killing a Hawai‘i County Fire captain with his vehicle earlier this year has changed his plea to no contest.

Originally charged with manslaughter, a class A felony and negligent homicide, a class C felony, Christopher Helmlinger, 21, appeared before 3rd Circuit Court Judge Melvin Fujino on Nov. 27 to change his plea.

According to court documents, Helmlinger entered a no contest plea to the charge of manslaughter. Sentencing has been scheduled for Jan. 31, 2020. A pre-sentence investigative report was also ordered to be completed.

In exchange for the no contest plea, court documents indicate the negligent homicide charge will be dismissed with prejudice.

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Charges stem from a car crash that occurred on May 22. Hawaii County Police responded to Highway 190 near mile marker 14. When they arrived they found David Alan Mahon of Kailua-Kona, unresponsive and lying on the roadway.

Investigation by traffic enforcement officers revealed that Helmlinger had passed several vehicles in a no-passing zone just south of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway intersection.

Witnesses reported that they had observed a white 2006 Honda Pilot S.U.V. driving in a reckless manner and passing several vehicles in a single pass at speeds over the posted 50 mph. Witnesses later identified the driver as Helmlinger.

Manslaughter carries a punishment of 20 years in prison. Court documents indicate the prosecutor’s office will recommend no more than eight years of prison and be sentenced as a young adult defendant.

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a reporter for Big Island Now. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat. Tiffany is an award-winning journalist, receiving recognition from the Utah-Idaho-Spokane Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists. Tiffany grew up on the Big Island and is passionate about telling the community’s stories.
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