East Hawaii News

Puna Man Charged With Murder, Assault

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A Big Island man faces a murder charge following the discovery of a badly burned body Saturday, April 23, in Puna.

Ammon Kaipo Spencer Stanley

After conferring with county prosecutors Monday, April 25, Hawai‘i Island police detectives charged 35-year-old Ammon Kaipo Spencer Stanley of Kurtistown with second-degree murder and second-degree assault. His bail was set $1,010,000.

Stanley remains in police custody pending his initial court appearance Tuesday, April 26, in Hilo District Court.

According to a police media release, the charges against Stanley stem from an incident reported shortly after 3 p.m. Saturday, when Puna Patrol officers responded to Beach Road off Maku‘u Drive after receiving information about a vehicle that was set on fire with a body inside. Responding officers found the vehicle, with the charred remains in the bushes about 100 feet off the roadway.


Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigation Section responded to the scene to continue the investigation.

“Following up on leads, police identified Stanley as a suspect, and at 5:55 p.m. Saturday, he was located at a residence on 35th Avenue in Kurtistown, where he was arrested for second-degree murder,” said the release.

During the course of this investigation, detectives determined the victim was shot while seated in his vehicle on the side of 35th Avenue. Police also identified a 36-year female that was also shot while inside the vehicle. She managed to escape to safety and was later treated for non-life threatening injuries.


“Stanley reportedly drove the victim’s vehicle, with the deceased victim inside, to Beach Road, where it was set on fire,” the release said.

The deceased victim’s remains were transported to Hilo Medical Center for official pronouncement of death. The victim’s name is being withheld pending positive identification and notification of next of kin.

An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday to determine the exact cause of death.


Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Detective John Balberde at 808-961-2386 or email him at [email protected] or the police department’s nonemergency number at 808-935-3311.

Those who prefer to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 808-961-8300.

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