Trial in firefighter death delayed

  • The trial for Christopher Hemlinger, charged with manslaughter and negligent homicide was continued Friday in Circuit Court. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

KEALAKEKUA — The trial for a 21-year-old man accused of manslaughter and negligent homicide in the death of a Hawaii Fire Department captain has been pushed back.

Christopher Raymond Helmlinger, through his attorney Michael Schlueter, submitted a motion to continue the trial which was scheduled to begin Sept. 4.


Kona Circuit Court Judge Melvin H. Fujino granted the motion Friday, setting the jury trial for Nov. 5.

Helmlinger, who was indicted by a grand jury on June 10, remains out of custody, having previously posted bail of $100,000 two days after the fatal crash near mile marker 14 on Mamalahoa Highway in North Kona.

Helmlinger entered not guilty pleas to manslaughter and second-degree negligent homicide in connection with the multiple-car wreck that killed David Mahon, a 49-year-old Kailua-Kona man who had a lengthy career with the fire department.

Police say Helmlinger was driving a Kona-bound Honda Pilot and overtaking several vehicles in a no-passing zone when he collided head-on with the motorcycle that Mahon was operating the morning of May 22. Mahon, an 18-year veteran of the Hawaii Fire Department, who earlier this year became a fire captain in Hilo, was headed to work in Hilo at the time of the fatal crash.


A third vehicle, a white Jeep Grand Cherokee, was also involved in the wreck. Neither Helmlinger nor the driver of the Jeep required medical attention.

Manslaughter is a class A felony punishable by up to 2o years imprisonment upon conviction, while second-degree negligent homicide is a class C felony that carries a potential five-year prison term.

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