HAWAII — A man who was granted immunity for his testimony that led to a conviction in a 2009 murder case is again making headlines in another murder case out of Hawaii.

Walter Boyd Bremmer was a deckhand on the F/V Tiger when he was determined to be the sole witness during the investigation into the murder of the boat-owner, 54-year-old John Curtis Adkins of Albany, Ore.

According to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, Hawaii police have charged Walter Bremmer in connection to the murder of 52-year-old Puna, Hawaii resident Robert John Leong.

John Burnett, of the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, reports that Bremmer has been charged with second-degree murder, first-degree burglary and the use of a firearm in a felony after Bremmer’s girlfriend, Cynthia Villella, told police that “he entered Leong’s home at 11-3410 Palainui Ave. without permission and shot and strangled Leong.”

A court document states that a pocketknife — which is believed to belong to Bremmer and carrying his DNA — was found next to Leong’s body on Jan. 28, 2012. It also notes that evidence in connection to the murder was recovered from Bremmer’s residence and that forensic testing supported what Villella told police.

On July 4, 2009, Adkins, Bremmer and Adkins’ business partner Erin Rieman had brought the Tiger from Garabaldi, Ore., to the Port of Ilwaco to perform some repairs using the port’s dry dock. But two days after their arrival, Adkins’ brother reported him as missing after he didn’t show up at the dry dock on July 6. Despite Adkins’ absence, Bremmer and Rieman boarded the Tiger on July 7 and returned to Garibaldi.

Investigators searched the vessel in Garibaldi and discovered blood spatter, a broken portside window, clothes saturated with dried blood, and fishing weights that were unaccounted for. The Oregon State Police crime lab processed the evidence and determined that the blood contained the DNA of Adkins and Rieman.

When Long Beach Police officer Casey Meling and Oregon State Police Sgt. Jon Harrington interviewed Bremmer in Hilo, Hawaii, he recounted that after frequenting some local bars on July 5, he returned to the dock where the Tiger was moored. Bremmer claimed that as he approached the boat, he saw Rieman punching Adkins in the face, grab him and smash his head through the portside window, and then punch him again before throwing him down the stairs into the boat’s galley.

Upon arriving at the vessel and entering the cabin, Bremmer recounted that Adkins was lying on the ground when Rieman grabbed a yellow extension cord, placed his knee on one side of the cord, wrapped the cord around Adkins’ neck twice and pulled on the opposite end of the cord until Adkins died.

Bremmer said Rieman took about $5,000 in cash from Adkins’ belongings and “threatened to kill him and his girlfriend if they did not help him.”

Bremmer reported that Rieman wrapped Adkins’ body in a sleeping bag, then wound the extension cord around the sleeping bag and hid the body in the engine compartment. The next day, Rieman tied two large fishing weights to the sleeping bag and threw Adkins’ body into the ocean on their way back to Garibaldi. Adkins’ body has never been found.

In November 2009, Reiman pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder and second-degree theft. In May 2010, Rieman pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree manslaughter in Pacific County Superior Court and received a sentence of up to 11 years. Pacific County Prosecutor David Burke offered Bremmer immunity for his cooperation in the investigation.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports that Bremmer was charged with domestic abuse in July, but prosecutors dismissed the case the following month, reserving the right to recharge him at a later time. Villella was the alleged victim in a case and was granted a temporary restraining order against him. Burnett also cited court records that indicated that in 1988, Bremmer was convicted of attempted robbery in North Carolina, and subsequently sentenced to probation.

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