Testimony Given in Manslaughter Case of Kona Visitor
Testimony has been offered in the case of a Pennsylvania man charged with manslaughter after a fatal confrontation in Kailua-Kona last month is underway.
Benjamin Fleming, 37, of Pittsburgh, has been charged with strangling to death his vacation rental roommate, Abhishik Gupta. If convicted, Fleming could be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison.
According to police, the altercation between Fleming and Gupta occurred in the early morning hours of Monday, March 29, at a property on Walua Road.
Hawai´i Island Police reported that Fleming dialed 911 that morning and told responders that Gupta had passed out after drinking too much alcohol. However, an investigation led officers to the conclusion that Gupta died as the result of a physical fight. An autopsy later determined that the cause of Gupta’s death was strangulation.
Police initially arrested Alexander Germany-Wald, 31, of Boston, along with Fleming. Both men were staying with Gupta at the vacation rental. Initially, Germany-Wald was considered the prime suspect, though he was later released with no charges.
Germany-Wald testified in court that Gupta was expelled from a Kailua-Kona bar for being too intoxicated. He went on to testify that Gupta had initiated a fist fight after the three men returned to their vacation rental.
“Mr. Fleming came to my aid and restrained Mr. Gupta from punching me further,” Germany-Wald told the court.