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Grand jury indicts 2 on unrelated felony charges

Corrections: 
The firearm didn’t discharge when allegedly pointed at the woman. It did discharge in connection with the alleged killing of the job. A previous version of this story didn’t make that distinction. The Tribune-Herald regrets the error.

A Hilo grand jury indicted two men Sept. 6 with multiple offenses in unrelated cases, one for the alleged sex assault of two underage girls between two and three years ago, the other for a violent domestic incident that allegedly took place over several days last month.

In a 21-count indictment, 37-year-old Aaron Gomes of Pahoa is charged with two counts of continuous sexual assault of a minor younger than 14, six counts of first-degree sexual assault and 13 counts of third-degree sexual assault.

According to the indictment, the offenses allegedly occurred between Aug. 1, 2014, and Aug. 31, 2015, with “the exact dates and times being unknown, but in a continuous course of conduct” and that Gomes “knowingly engaged” in sexual penetration and sexual contact with the girls.

A bench warrant was issued for Gomes’ arrest, with bail set at $114,000. Among the bail conditions in the warrant is that Gomes have no contact with the girls, that he neither threaten nor harm them and that he remain at least 100 yards away from them.

According to court records, Gomes has no prior felony convictions. He does have eight misdemeanor and two petty misdemeanor convictions, all between 1998 and 2008, including convictions for domestic abuse, violating a protective order, disorderly conduct and harassment.

First-degree sexual assault and sexual assault of a minor younger than 14 are Class A felonies that carry a possible 20-year term of imprisonment upon conviction. Third-degree sexual assault is a Class C felony that carries a potential five-year prison term.

The indictment, however, alleges that because Gomes could be sentenced for two or more felonies, he “is subject to extended terms of imprisonment … for the protection of the public.” If convicted on two or more of the Class A felony charges, that could mean a sentence of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.

In an unrelated case, the grand jury returned a 14-count indictment against 35-year-old Bronson Lee Ganigan of Honokaa.

The indictment charges Ganigan with kidnapping, second-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangering, first-degree cruelty to animals, two counts of domestic abuse and three counts each of use a firearm in the commission of a separate felony and three counts of second-degree reckless endangering.

According to court documents, in a prolonged incident that reportedly took place between Aug. 13 and 17, Ganigan allegedly held a 42-year-old Hilo woman against her will, choked her, struck her, pistol-whipped her, twice put a .38-caliber revolver with one bullet in the cylinder to her temple and pulled the trigger, and beat and shot a small dog to death.

The firearm didn’t discharge when allegedly pointed at the woman.

The most severe charges, kidnapping and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, are Class A felonies that carry a potential 20-year prison term upon conviction. Ganigan originally was arrested on suspicion of two counts of attempted murder, but prosecutors didn’t file those charges.

According to court documents, Ganigan has no prior felony convictions.

He’s in custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center in lieu of $34,500 bail.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

 

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