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Orlando T. GANAL Sr.

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Jealousy - Arson
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: August 25, 1991
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: 1954
Victims profile: Aradina and Santiago Dela Cruz (his wife parents) / Joshua, 10-month-old and Kalah Touchette, two-year-old (the children of the brother of his wife's lover)
Method of murder: Shooting - Fire
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison on April 7, 1993
 
 
 
 
 
 

Hawaii's most notorious previous mass murder to Xerox shooting took place Aug. 25, 1991, when Orlando Ganal Sr. shot his wife's parents in a jealous rage and then torched the Kailua home where his wife's lover lived.

Four people died, including two children.

 
 

1991: Four people are killed and four are injured, and a home and workplace are burned in a nighttime trail of fire and blood that Honolulu police link to a love triangle.

Orlando Ganal Sr., who was later convicted of murder, is so enraged that his estranged wife, Mabel, is seeing someone that he goes to her parents' Waipahu home, shoots them to death, then wounds his wife and son.

He then firebombs the Kailua home of Michael and Wendy Touchette because of Michael's brother's relationship with Mabel. The fire kills the couple's two young children. Wendy and Michael Touchette was severely burned.

  


 

State v. Ganal

5/8/1996


Opinion OF THE COURT BY MOON, C.J.


Defendant-appellant Orlando Ganal, Sr. appeals the judgment, guilty conviction, and sentence for: (1) the attempted first degree murder of (a) his estranged wife, Mabel Ganal (Mabel), (b) Michael Touchette (Michael), the brother of Mabel's lover, and (c) Michael's wife, Wendy Touchette (Wendy); (2) the first degree murder of (a) Ganal's mother- and father-in-law, Aradina and Santiago Dela Cruz (collectively, the Dela Cruzes), and (b) Michael and Wendy's infant children, Joshua and Kalah Touchette; (3) the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony; (4) the first degree terroristic threatening of Mabel's lover, David Touchette (David); and (5) the criminal property damage of the premises of his employer, Young Laundry.


On appeal, Ganal argues that: (1) the prosecution did not present sufficient evidence to establish probable cause that he committed first degree property damage at Young Laundry; (2) the trial court improperly denied his motion to suppress evidence found in his truck; (3) the trial court improperly denied his motion to dismiss the use of a firearm count; (4) he was deprived of a fair trial because of allegedly improper statements made by the prosecutor and/or his own outbursts in court; and (5) the trial court erroneously denied his motion to dismiss the attempted first degree murder count because attempt is an included offense under Hawai'i Revised Statutes (HRS) 701-109 (1993). For the reasons discussed below, we reverse Ganal's conviction and sentence as to Counts II and III of the indictment and affirm Ganal's convictions and sentences on all other Counts.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The many events that form the basis of the charges against Ganal in this case principally revolve around the night of August 25, 1991 and the early morning of August 26, 1991. We detail the relevant events largely in chronological order.

A. Events Prior to August 25, 1991

Ganal testified at trial that, on February 15, 1991, he injured his back while working at his job at Young Laundry. Unable to work, and having difficulty obtaining workers' compensation , Ganal became despondent. At roughly the same time, Ganal's wife, Mabel, began having an affair with David, a co-worker at her part-time job. Ganal became suspicious of Mabel's affair, and through investigation, eventually confirmed his suspicions.

In early April 1991, as Mabel and Ganal's marriage began to deteriorate, Ganal began calling David -- at times, he was friendly; at others, he threatened David and his family with violence. At approximately the same time, Mabel left Ganal to live with her parents, the Dela Cruzes. Orlando Ganal, Jr. ("Jun Jun"), Ganal and Mabel's son, then age thirteen, continued to live with Ganal.

Mabel testified at trial that on Saturday, August 24, 1991, she was at Ganal's home to pick up Jun Jun when she and Ganal began to quarrel. The quarrel escalated, culminating in Ganal pointing a gun at Mabel and begging her to move back in with him. When Mabel refused, Ganal pointed the gun at his own head as if to shoot himself.

Mabel eventually convinced Ganal not to shoot himself and persuaded Ganal to give her the gun. Mabel then called for Jun Jun to help her, but Ganal stopped her and threatened to kill both Mabel and Jun Jun. When Jun Jun came to Mabel's aid, Mabel signaled to Jun Jun that Ganal had a gun, and Jun Jun left the house. Ganal and Mabel continued to quarrel, and, after they stopped arguing, they looked for Jun Jun, but they could not find him. A neighbor took Mabel back to the Dela Cruzes' home in Waipahu, and, during that night and the following day, Mabel called Ganal periodically to see if Jun Jun had returned home, but she learned that he had not.

B. The Night of August 25, 1991

1. The Dela Cruz House in Waipahu

At approximately 7:00 p.m., on August 25, 1991, Jun Jun's girlfriend dropped Jun Jun off at the Dela Cruz house. Mabel told Jun Jun that she wanted him to go to his father, but when Jun Jun called to ask Ganal to pick him up, Jun Jun and Ganal began to argue. Mabel then called Ganal to apologize for Jun Jun, but Ganal swore at her, accusing her of turning Jun Jun against him. Mabel, Jun Jun, and the Dela Cruzes then ate dinner, watched television, and went to sleep.

Mabel testified at trial that, on the night of August 25, 1991, she was sleeping on a couch at her parents' house when she awoke to the sound of the front door being forced open. Mabel then looked up, saw a silver-colored gun, and was shot along the side of her head. She managed to crawl to her brother's room and then to her father's room, but the doors to both rooms were locked. Meanwhile, the intruder was kicking and punching her, but she was unable to see who it was. Mabel's father awoke, came out of his room, and tried to stop the intruder, but the intruder shot him.

Jun Jun testified at trial that he was sleeping on the floor next to the television in the Dela Cruzes' living room when he awoke to the sound of his mother yelling his name. He opened his eyes and saw Ganal in the light from the balcony. Ganal then shot Jun Jun in the mouth. Jun Jun managed to elude Ganal and ran downstairs to a neighbor's home. Jun Jun noted that Ganal was wearing blue jeans.

Mabel's brother, Diego Dela Cruz (Diego), testified that he was asleep in his room when he was awakened by the sound of gunshots and heard Mabel screaming in the living room. Fearing for his family's safety, Diego immediately knocked out his bedroom jalousies and helped his wife and child climb outside. As they crouched outside, Diego heard pounding on his bedroom door and then the sound of his father moaning in the hallway. When he climbed back inside, Diego found his mother bent over a sofa, dead, and his father sliding down the stairway, covered with blood and moaning. Aradina Dela Cruz died as a result of seven gunshot wounds. Santiago Dela Cruz died as a result of multiple internal injuries caused by three gunshot wounds.

Rosemary Nishimura, who lived just north of the Dela Cruz house, testified that, at approximately 11:00 p.m., she heard a loud noise, like a pipe falling on cement, followed by six shots. She looked out toward the Dela Cruz house and saw a man in dark clothing, who appeared to be reloading a gun. Ven Malapit, another of the Dela Cruzes' neighbors, heard the noises and gunshots, looked out his garage window, and saw a man, possibly Filipino, holding a gun and dressed in dark clothes, run towards a dark-colored Chevrolet truck with a lighter-colored tailgate and drive away.

2. The Touchette House in Kailua

Barbara Fitzpatrick, a neighbor of the Touchettes, testified at trial that, on the night of August 25, 1991, she heard the sound of glass breaking, followed by a small explosion. She looked out to see a Filipino or local man, wearing a dark jacket and jeans, carrying an object and walking very fast toward a dark gray or blue truck. The man put the object in the truck bed, got into the truck, and drove away quickly. Fitzpatrick then noticed a fire in the Touchettes' house. Neighbors Gary Guillermo and Clayt Kobashigawa corroborated Fitzpatrick's testimony.

Wendy Touchette testified that on the same night, she, her husband, and their two children were getting ready for bed when they received a phone call. Michael answered the phone and said "hello" a few times, but no one responded. Michael, Wendy, and the two children were all sleeping in the main bedroom when Wendy awoke to the sound of Michael screaming. She got up and saw Michael on fire. Michael was saying, "He was here, he's here, he was here." Wendy said, "What?" and Michael said, "Orlando," and "Get out." Soon thereafter, Wendy was also on fire, and she tried unsuccessfully to get to the bathroom for some water, but the fire was too hot.

Michael and Wendy struggled to get out of the house, but could not open the front door because it was somehow locked from the outside. Wendy eventually managed to reach the kitchen door, where someone pulled her out. The Touchette children, Joshua and Kalah, died of thermal burns and smoke inhalation at the scene. Michael died later, on September 23, 1991, as a result of complications related to severe burns over eighty percent of his body. Wendy was severely burned over approximately forty percent of her body and suffered scarring over much of her face.

Fire investigator Glen Solem testified at trial that the fire at the Touchette house was intentionally started with a liquid accelerant, probably gasoline. Solem further testified that, based on the burn patterns and the patterns of broken glass on the floors, it appeared that two fires had been started separately in the living room and the bedroom from gasoline being thrown into the house.

3. The Young Laundry Premises

Young Laundry's night watchman, Suesue Faamamalu, testified at trial that he was on his patrol of the Young Laundry premises at approximately 12:00 midnight on August 25, 1991, when he discovered a fire burning on the second floor of the building.

Young Laundry's manager, Michael Drace, testified at the grand jury proceedings that the Young Laundry plant operates twenty-four hours a day and that there are people working in the plant at all hours. Drace further testified that the sprinkler system extinguished the fire.

Fire Investigator Warner Pukini testified at trial that his investigation indicated that the fire was intentionally set with a combustible liquid. The burn patterns suggested that the combustible liquid was poured towards the back exit, where they found a gas can that they suspected contained the accelerant.

Ganal, Mabel, Jun Jun, and Ganal's tenant, Charles Robinson, all identified the gas can found at the Young Laundry premises as being similar to one that Ganal kept in his tool shed at home. After Ganal's arrest, a police search of Ganal's home, garage, and tool shed produced no gas can.

C. Events After August 25, 1991

Ganal testified that, after his phone conversation with Mabel, during the evening of August 25, 1991, he blacked out. The next thing he remembered was waking up the next morning perspiring in his truck at a beach in Makaha. He took off his clothes and his watch, left the key in the ignition, and went into the water dressed only in his underwear.

Ganal further testified that, while he was in the water, someone stole his clothes, and, when he attempted to give chase, he cut his heel on a sharp object in the water. Unable to pursue the thieves, he drove home.

As Ganal drove home, the police were already aware of the events that had transpired at the Dela Cruz house, the Touchette house, and the Young Laundry premises. While on patrol, Honolulu police officers Robert Burns and George Clark recognized Ganal's license plate number and followed him.

Once Ganal arrived at his home, he began to exit his truck to open the gate to his driveway, at which point officers Burns and Clark shouted to Ganal to stop and put his hands up. The officers testified that, upon approaching Ganal with their guns drawn, they could not see Ganal's left hand, because he kept it in the truck at all times.

Fearing for their safety, the officers instructed Ganal to lie face down on the ground, but Ganal would not comply. Burns and Clark moved in closer and grabbed Ganal's left hand; Ganal resisted by yelling, kicking, and swinging his arms, refusing to be placed in a prone position on the ground.

The officers swept Ganal's feet out from under him, placed him in handcuffs, and informed him that he was under arrest for murder. During the scuffle, Ganal suffered bruises on his face, arms, and rib area as well as a broken nose. Both Officers Burns and Clark denied hitting Ganal or seeing anyone else hit him.

At approximately 6:40 a.m., Detective Vernon Santos arrived at the scene of the arrest. By that time, Ganal had been moved to a blue-and-white police vehicle. Detective Santos informed Ganal that he was investigating a murder and that a shooting had occurred at Ganal's mother-in-law's house; he sought to obtain Ganal's cooperation in filling out an Honolulu Police Department (HPD) Consent to Search form (Form 393 or consent form) for Ganal's truck.

Detective Santos testified that Ganal appeared calm and that Ganal indicated he could read, write, and understand English. Detective Santos read through the Form 393 to inform Ganal of his rights and asked Ganal for his consent to search his truck. Ganal indicated that he understood his rights, read the form for some time, appeared to understand it, and signed it. The search of Ganal's truck revealed one spent shell, which subsequently was determined to match shells recovered at the Dela Cruz and Touchette houses.

Ganal, on the other hand, testified that, when he arrived home and the police told him to put his hands up and get on the ground, he complied. After the police handcuffed his hands behind his back, they started kicking him on his ribs, thighs, elbows, and arms, and threatened to "break face." Ganal also claimed that Officer Burns pounded his head into the ground.

Ganal further testified that he signed the consent form because Detective Santos told him that, if he did not sign the form, "they going make it hard for me." Ganal asserted that he did not realize that Detective Santos was asking for his permission to search the truck and that he thought that, by saying "make it hard," Detective Santos meant that the officers would "beat him up again" if he did not cooperate. Ganal admitted that Detective Santos allowed him to read the consent form but he denied that Detective Santos read the form to him.

On August 30, 1991, twelve-year-old Justin Daite was snorkeling in Mokuleia when he saw and retrieved a gun and sledgehammer lying on the ocean bottom in approximately three to five feet of water and turned the articles over to the police. The police searched the shrubs in the surrounding area and found a pair of white Reebok shoes, grey socks, a black vinyl jacket with an empty bottle in the pocket, a pair of jeans, a maroon belt, and another empty brown bottle.

In the jeans' pockets, the officers found a BMW key ring, some loose change, and a letter from the Hawai'i State Department of Education addressed to the parents of Orlando Ganal, Jr. Written on the back of the envelope of the letter was Jun Jun's girlfriend's address. Jun Jun's girlfriend testified that she had given Ganal the address over the telephone on August 24, 1991.

Mabel identified the BMW key ring retrieved from Mokuleia as belonging to her and the shoes and belt found at Mokuleia as belonging to Ganal. Jun Jun also identified the black jacket recovered from Mokuleia as Ganal's. HPD Detective Charles Davis testified that marks on the door panel to the Dela Cruz house, which had been forcibly broken into on the night of the homicides, were consistent with the use of a sledgehammer like the one found at Mokuleia.

The gun found at Mokuleia also matched four empty shell casings and a bullet recovered from the Dela Cruz house, an empty shell casing recovered from the road in front of the Touchette home, and the empty shell casing found in Ganal's truck.

II. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On August 29, 1991, the grand jury returned a five-count indictment against Ganal, which provided:

The Grand Jury charges:

COUNT I : On or about the 25th day of August, 1991, in the City and County of Honolulu, State of Hawaii, ORLANDO GANAL, SR., did intentionally or knowingly cause the death of more than one person in the same or separate incident, thereby committing the offense of Murder in the First Degree, in violation of Sections 707-701(1)(a) and 706-656 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes.

COUNT II : On or about the 25th day of August, 1991, in the City and County of Honolulu, State of Hawaii, ORLANDO GANAL, SR., did intentionally commit an act which constituted a substantial step in a course of conduct intended or known to cause the death of more than one person in the same or separate incident, thereby committing the offense of Attempted Murder in the First Degree, in violation of Sections 705-500, 707-701(1)(a) and 706-656 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes.

COUNT III : On or about the 24th day of August, 1991, in the City and County of Honolulu, State of Hawaii, ORLANDO GANAL, SR., did knowingly possess or intentionally use or threaten to use a firearm while engaged in the commission of a felony, whether the firearm was loaded or not, and whether operable or not, thereby committing the offense of Possession, Use or Threat to Use a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony, in violation of Section 134-6(a) and (d) of the Hawaii Revised Statutes.

COUNT IV : On or about the 1st day of May, 1991, to and including the 10th day of July, 1991, in the City and County of Honolulu, State of Hawaii, ORLANDO GANAL, SR., threatened, by word or conduct to cause bodily injury to David Touchette, by threatening David Touchette on more than one occasion for the same or similar purpose, in reckless disregard of the risk of terrorizing said David Touchette, thereby committing the offense of Terroristic Threatening in the First Degree, in violation of Section 707-716(1)(a) of the Hawaii Revised Statutes.

COUNT V : On or about the 26th day of August, 1991, in the City and County of Honolulu, State of Hawaii, ORLANDO GANAL, SR., did intentionally damage property, and thereby recklessly placed another person in danger of death or bodily injury, thereby committing the offense of Criminal Property Damage in the First Degree, in violation of Section 708-820 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes.

On January 15, 1992, Ganal filed a motion for a bill of particulars for, among other things, the felony which formed the basis of the use of a firearm charge in Count III. The motion was granted, and the prosecution responded by alleging that the felony involved was Terroristic Threatening in the First Degree.

On February 7, 1992, Ganal filed a Motion to Dismiss Count V for Insufficient Evidence and a Motion to Suppress Evidence secured from his truck. Both motions were denied. On February 19, 1992, Ganal filed a motion to dismiss Count II for violation of HRS 701-109, which was also denied.

Trial began on March 1, 1993, and the jury returned a verdict of guilty of all counts on April 7, 1993. On April 23, 1993, Ganal filed another motion to dismiss Count II for a violation of HRS 701-109, arguing that Counts I and II merged for purposes of sentencing. Ganal was granted leave to orally modify the motion to include double jeopardy at the hearing on the motion, and the motion was denied. Judgment was entered on July 1, 1993, and this timely appeal followed.


III. Discussion

*****

Disposition

Conviction and sentence as to counts II and III is reversed and convictions and sentences on all other counts is affirmed.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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