Thursday, September 9, 2010

On the Murder of Jamil Khan (Re-Written)

Update on the case
Joshua Williams' verdicts as follows:
COUNT 1: MURDER 2 (GUILTY)
COUNT 2: COMMERCIAL PROM. OF MARIJUANA 1(GUILTY)
COUNT 3: ARSON 2 (GUILTY)
COUNT 4: UNAUTHORIZED CONTROL OF PROPELLED VEHICLE (GUILTY)
COUNT 5: PROM. DANGEROUS DRUG 3 (NOT GUILTY)
COUNT 6: UNLAWFUL USE OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA (GUILTY)

Michael Connolly: the prosecutor filed a motion for Nolle prosequi which means that the prosecutor will no longer pursue the case against him. However, it was granted without prejudice, which means that the case against him can always be reopened. So, he's not off the hook yet. Currently, he's been allowed supervised release and is living with his parents and attending school. Given the seriousness of the charges against him, he'd been ordered to wear a monitoring bracelet.


An earlier post on this topic was deleted, as it contained certain factual errors. These errors were not deliberate, but were the result of links to relevant news articles not being available at the time of initial posting. There were certain mistakes that I made and, rather than go back an edit them out, I have decided to rewrite the entire article.

When we hear about a murder in the news, it can come as quite a shock, especially if the murder is gruesome. When I was seventeen years old, my uncle was murdered in a bar near where I lived. He was shot dead for reasons that I never discovered. So, my own family has been affected by murder in my lifetime.

Recently, news reports surfaced of an apparent murder in Honolulu that were shocking, both in the nature of the killing as well as the details which news outlets released. I was truly shocked and surprised at the amount of information given. I used to work in the media and I never thought that Hawaii news outlets would release that much information on any killing.

What made it all worse for me is that I knew his family. Specifically, I knew his father and I had met the victim when he was a young boy.

According to news reports, three men - Jamil Khan, Joshua Williams and Michael Connolly - were involved in an indoor marijuana-growing operation. Khan and Williams had reportedly been friends in high school, but their friendship went downhill after Williams allegedly gave Khan marijuana to sell and Khan had kept the money.

So, Williams and Connolly allegedly killed Khan by beating him to death, cutting his throat, dismembering his body and disposing of the remains in the trash. Williams allegedly then tried to burn Khan's SUV, suffering burns himself in the process. I guess arson is just a kind of skill he never acquired.

Reading the above paragraph would make anyone feel squeamish, even for those of us used to reading about such crimes taking place outside of Hawaii. But, to hear about it happening in our own State seems like something unreal.

I've been around drug dealers most of my adult life. When I was a kid, marijuana was the illegal drug of choice. When I was in my twenties, cocaine dealers were making the news. Later on, crack cocaine. Still later, crystal meth was making the news, along with designer drugs, like Ecstacy.

I never tried illegal drugs in my whole life, not even marijuana. Part of the reason being my mother raising me to stay away from drugs and the people who sell them. When I became an adult and met drug dealers personally, I realized that they were not the kind of people I wanted to meet on a regular basis. While using marijuana or coke might have enlarged my social circles, especially with some of the people I used to work with at the time, I knew that a lot of them were destined for prison or an early death, which are two things I try very hard to avoid. Years later, many of my predictions were proven true. One young girl I knew, named Camille, was so very beautiful when I worked with her that I thought she could have been a fashion model. When I ran into her a few years later, she was a wasted-out looking heroin junkie who couldn't even walk in a straight line anymore. That sight broke my heart.

So, when news reports came-out that some one had been killed over marijuana, my first thought was "Killed" For pot???". Seriously, I always knew that pot dealers would beat you up, sometimes very badly, but I never heard of them actually killing some one over it, not even when money was involved.

The two suspects in the case are Joshua Williams and Michael Connolly


According to the news, Williams faces a charge of Murder in the second degree, car theft, arson, and first-degree commercial promotion of marijuana.Connolly faces just the one count of Murder Two. Neither suspect has a criminal history in Hawaii.


Jamil Khan also had no criminal history.


Originally, the two suspects were held on one million dollars bail, which was then raised to two million, but now are held without bail. Even if they were to be granted bail, I honestly doubt if any bailbondsman would take a chance on either of them, especially since they both face extended sentencing on the murder count and also due to the recent news of another suspect in a separate case, Joseph Vaimili, who was out on $250,000 bail and skipped-out. So, I really don't think somebody will chance losing a million dollars for either of these two.


Williams and Connolly are being represented by two very qualified attorneys: John Schum and Randall Oyama, respectively. While people often wonder how any lawyer can represent a suspect in a crime so gruesome, the fact is that every one of us is legally entitled to the best criminal defense. This is to level the playing field where the prosecutors, who work for and have the resources of the State, are not easily able to steamroll suspects into prison, since the State has an obvious advantage in finances and power and such power can easily be used to convict innocent people for crimes they did not commit. So, I'm not one of those people who thinks every suspect is guilty an should simply be tossed in the pokey without a chance to defend themselves. In our legal system, there is no "We know he's guilty", there is the presumption of innocence until guilt is proven.


But, if all the news reports are accurate and they really did as reported, then these two represent a real threat to society. How else would you view some one who could actually cut some one's throat after beating them to death and then dismember the corpse?


Fuck!


I used to work in a hospital and I can tell you that, despite what people might think, the human body is actually pretty hard to take apart, even with the right equipment. You're talking about a lot of time and effort involved. Oh, and let's not forget about the blood. Even when you cut somebody's throat, there's still plenty of blood left in a human body and it gets all over the place. The smell alone would be enough to make you sick, if you've never done it before and the smell of blood is hard to get rid of, even with the high-powered cleaners they use in hospitals. When I worked in a hospital, you could pickup the smell of blood on nearly every floor, which is one of the biggest reasons I quit that job. The method of disposal reminds me of the Sicilian Mafia and I remembered a scene from the movie "Donnie Brasco" when undercover FBI agent Joe Pistone (played by Johnny Depp) has to help with dismembering several corpses of murdered mafiosi.


Two people who could commit a crime like that would be seen by the court as being a clear danger to Society and who should be put away for the rest of their lives. So, if convicted, neither Connolly or Williams are likely to ever get out of prison. But, Khan is still dead.


I remember drug dealers in my neighborhood when I was a teenager. They'd try to get me to either buy from them or help them sell. I stayed away from them as much as I could. What I remember most is how the gangs of dealers would all hangout together, flashing their money and acting like they were the best of friends. Of course, when they'd get caught, it would be every man for himself and they'd try to cut a deal with the prosecutors by ratting each other out. 


One guy that I remember best was not actually a dealer. He was a mule. He'd carry marijuana from the growers and deliver it to the dealers, collecting the growers' cut of the money from the dealers and taking it back to the growers, who would then give him some money, along with some weed to sell. Mules were used as a way to insulate growers from dealers, since having a lot of people coming and going at all hours of the day and night at your home attracts a lot of attention. Having one guy do it seemed like a good idea and it was...


...until he got caught by HPD Nacrotics.


The mule then decided to rat-out everybody - and I do mean everybody - he had any kind of dealings with. He ratted on the growers, the dealers and everyone he had sold to himself. He ratted-out people he knew were associated with any of those people in any way. Of course, he did it to keep himself out of prison. It seemed to work, as he did little time himself. He left town, but then actually came back (stupid fucker) for awhile, until he realized that friends of the people he had helped put away were looking for him and then he left town, never to return.


I tell that story to everyone because it shows how little real friendship there is among drug dealers. While they're making the cash and they're living the High Life, all seems good. But, when the chips are down, they'll turn on each other without a second thought. Even the Mafia doesn't have omerta (the Code of Silence) anymore.


So, apparently, Khan didn't kick-up (share the money) with the other guys in the operation. News reports indicate that he had threatened them with a gun and threatened to start his own growing operation. If true, those were the mistakes that had cost him his life. That is not to say that Williams and Connolly had no alternatives to killing him, because they did. They just chose the worst one.


Drug dealers 1) don't want to die and 2) don't want to go to prison. It's the first one that would have made the other drug dealers very concerned about what these two allegedly did. If they would kill one of their own, then there is a possibility that they would kill others. Since dealers, like most people, would like to avoid being killed, it is quite likely that the two of them would have either been killed of turned-in by other dealers sooner of later. Having drug-related murder occurring in Hawaii is something we have managed to avoid, for the most part. If drug dealers started offing one another, it would have resulted in the biggest law enforcement crackdown in the history of Hawaii, which is something all dealers want to avoid. It's just bad for business and drug dealing is a business, with profits and losses. If you're a dealer, you want to minimize your losses as much as you can and a major police crackdown would represent a great big loss.


Williams' biggest problem, according to reports, was not the actual killing. It was his big, fat mouth. He actually told people about what he had done and even asked for advice about disposing of Khan's SUV. I guess he had never heard of internalizing. 


Imagine if you were the person he told all this to (such as the witness who came forward to HPD) and Williams had told you about what he had done. Wouldn't you turn him in? I sure would, if only to keep him from killing me sometime in the future and to get somebody like that off the street.


Drug dealers don't like being noticed and the ones who stay in business the longest are the ones who have learned how not to be noticed. Drawing attention to yourself and to the things you've done is simply a bad business decision which could cost you everything.


So, now Khan is dead. Williams is incarcerated and facing a possible life sentence. The 200+ plants they had cultivated have been uprooted and destroyed, with the time and money they had spent to run the growing operation now down the toilet. To top it all off, the things they had bought with their money are out of their reach, possibly for life, along with whatever cash they might have had on-hand.


One day, you're dealing weed and making a load of cash. With it, you can buy almost anything you want. You spend money like water and party like a rock star, maybe even dating a stripper or two.


The next day, it's all gone and you're looking at spending the rest of your life in prison where you face the daily possibility of beatings, rape and bad food.


The very worst part of all of this is that the Khan family will spend the rest of their lives grieving for Jamil. Wondering what he could have accomplished, if he had lived. Children he would have fathered. All they have left of him are the things he left behind and memories of his life. They don't even have a body to bury and a grave to visit. I feel so sorry for them, especially his parents.


Whatever Jamil did, he didn't serve what happened to him and his family didn't deserve any of this to happen to them either.


Assuming Jamil's part in all this was as described in the news, you may wonder if I'm grieving for him, too.


No, I'm grieving for that 14 year-old boy who served me tea when I visited his father's home years ago.




Duane Browning
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