Witness’s house burns after testifying in Maui shooting case

WAILUKU — Maui police have launched an arson investigation after the house and car of a witness of a deadly shooting were burned.

The Maui News reports a blaze destroyed the Kanaio residence of Christine Mendes earlier this month after she testified against 42-year-old Justin Namauu in a preliminary hearing.

Namauu is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 45-year-old Dennis Pacheco. He has pleaded not guilty.

Mendes testified that Namauu shot Pacheco last month after barging into her home and seeing Pacheco inside.

Namauu is scheduled for trial in August.

Police Lt. Gregg Okamoto says the fires are suspicious but a connection between the arson investigation and the shooting case “would be speculation” at this point.

The newspaper’s phone call to Mendes was not returned Monday.

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Information from: The Maui News, http://www.mauinews.com

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