A 66-year-old Captain Cook man charged with murder stated in court Friday that he fatally shot his son in self-defense.
“Both my sons have drug and alcohol problems. I was just trying to save my life,” said James Bonham, who is charged with a single count of second-degree murder in the Tuesday evening shooting death of his 45-year-old son, Joshua Bonham.
James Bonham made the statement during his initial court appearance Friday before Kona District Court Judge Margaret Masunaga as the magistrate considered an oral motion by Deputy Public Defender Jimmy Greenberg to cancel the $50,000 bail and grant Bonham supervised release.
Greenberg, in arguing for his client’s supervised release, cited the Hawaii Intake Service Center’s recommendation that Bonham was low-risk, based on the suspect’s age, lack of prior felony arrests, and verifiable income, among other criteria.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Annaliese Wolf argued bail be maintained because of the severity of the crime and the volatile relationship the defendant had with his son. She also indicated police removed numerous firearms from the home.
Greenberg then stated Bonham shot his son in self-defense, at which point the 66-year-old told the judge he was trying to protect himself.
Masunaga subsequently verified Bonham was allowed to return to the house; however, per the landlord, his surviving son was not.
Bonham then told the court he could not return to the house because his other son “will be trying to kill me.” Masunaga told Bonham that if could secure another residence, he could live elsewhere as long as the location was provided to the Intake Service Center.
She then granted supervised release, with conditions including Bonham be subject to electronic monitoring. A preliminary hearing is set for June 30 after Bonham waived his right to have the hearing held within 30 days.
The single charge of second-degree murder stems from a reported shooting in the 83-5000 block of Middle Keei Road in Captain Cook, according to police, who were sent the area at 9:09 p.m. Tuesday.
According to court records, Bonham called 911 on Tuesday evening to report that he had shot his son. When police arrived, Bonham indicated his deceased son was the only one in the house, and gave officers the location of the firearm inside the house.
When police entered the home, the court records state, officers found the front sliding glass door shattered and Joshua Bonham’s body lying face down on the floor with a gunshot wound to his upper shoulder area. The victim was later pronounced dead at Kona Community Hospital.
Police recovered a shotgun, one spent shell and two live cartridges at the scene, according to the records.
On Friday, police said an autopsy determined Joshua Bonham died of a gunshot wound to the back.
Anyone with information about the incident should call the department’s nonemergency line at (808) 935-3311 or contact Detective Aron Tomota at (808) 326-4646, ext.262, or firstname.lastname@example.org.