Sentencing delayed again in deadly Ka Loko case

Published On: Apr 09 2014 07:14:27 PM HST

The man at the center of that catastrophic dam breach on Kauai has avoided his penalty only hours before it was supposed to be handed down.

The farmers fearful of what will happen next have hired an attorney to push for a beefier sentence.

"The damage continues, and the harm continues, and the results of this dam breach continues," said attorney Michael Green, who is representing farmers who live down river from the Ka Loko dam on Kauai's east side.

When the Ka Loko dam breached 2006, millions of gallons of muddy water, rocks, and debris swept seven people and one unborn child to their deaths.

After a mess of legal wrangling, former car dealer Jimmy Pflueger pleaded no contest for his role in the Ka Loko dam break that happened on his property.

In exchange, prosecutors allowed Pflueger's company to absorb manslaughter charges -- ending in $350,000 in fines.

On Wednesday there was something of a déjà vu.

With Pflueger's sentencing set for Thursday, his attorney says the 87 year-old cannot travel, because he's having foot surgery on April 15.

Pflueger was originally supposed to be sentenced in January, but a doctor's note then said that he couldn't fly, due to a "leg condition."

Tom Hitch, owner of Kilauea Irrigation Company, which manages the water from Ka Loko, had this to say on Wednesday:

"It's disappointing, but unfortunately, totally expected. My heart goes out the victims' families who have been waiting eight long years for justice. Anyone else would have been, and should have been, rotting in prison years ago."

"This is kind of a fiasco. What's been going on here is crazy," said Green.

Now, the farmers in fear of what will happen next, have hired Green, saying, when or if Pf;ueger is sentenced, they want a judge to order Pflueger to take care of the dam that's critical to their livelihood.

"Many of these farmers have been farming for years, and years, and years. Without the water, they're done," he said.

Farmers emphasize IF Pflueger is sentenced, because there's a stipulation in that plea deal that says, at any time, before and up to his sentencing, Pflueger can chose to change his plea back to not guilty.

It's already happened once.

If it happens again, Pflueger's attorneys tell KITV that would trigger a trial.

Kauai Circuit Court Judge Randal Valenciano agreed to continue Pflueger's sentencing to Aug. 28, 2014.


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