Evan Craft faces charges in 2015 death

LIHUE — After months of asking for a new attorney, a man accused of second-degree murder was granted his wish.

Evan Craft, who appeared in court Tuesday via a video conference from the Hawaii State Hospital, told Judge Kathleen Watanabe he had no objection to a motion filed by his attorney, Emmanuel Guerrero, to withdraw his services.

“Based on the motion and reasons in support of the motion, knowing there’s no objection from the state or defendant, the court is granting your motion,” Watanabe said.

Craft is facing second-degree murder and DUI charges relating to the 2015 death of Michael Helppie. In the early morning hours of June 1, police believe the two men got into a confrontation at a bar. The incident escalated when Craft’s SUV struck Helppie near the Kalapaki Seawall along Nawiliwili Park, according to reports.

Helppie, 37, died at the scene.

Craft, who was arrested on June 4, 2015, has been trying to get a new attorney for the last several months.

At previous hearings, he told Watanabe he would rather represent himself.

“The next that would happen, Mr. Craft, is that the court would appoint a new attorney to represent you,” Watanabe said Tuesday. “The court has someone in mind, but she was not able to be here today.”

Watanabe suggested a short continuance so Craft’s new attorney can be briefed on his case.

Craft is scheduled to be in court again on Monday.

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