Arraignment for man charged with killing dog, assaulting owner postponed for third time

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Update at 11:05 a.m. on April 1: Jason Mearns appeared via Zoom from the O‘ahu Community Correctional Center for his scheduled appearance in Fifth Circuit Court in Līhu‘e for his arraignment and plea on Monday morning. No decisions were made at the time, as Judge Kathleen Watanabe scheduled to continue the matter again on April 3 at 9 a.m. to allow Mearns time to discuss the matter with his attorney and decide how he wants to proceed.

Original post: A man charged with strangling a dog to death earlier this month failed to appear in a Līhu‘e courtroom on Wednesday for his initial court hearing.   

Forty-seven-year-old Jason Mearns was scheduled to appear before Fifth Circuit Court Chief Judge Randal Valenciano for his arraignment and plea for the March 17 incident, which involved him reportedly strangling a dog to death and then assaulting the pet’s owner outside the owner’s Kōloa residence. 

According to a preliminary police report, the dog’s owner, a 35-year-old man, discovered Mearns murdering his dog after hearing a loud noise from his house and going outside to check on his pet. 


“Upon exiting the residence, the 35-year-old man found Mearns lifting his dog off the ground by its chain,” the Kaua‘i Police Department said. 

An argument then ensued between the two men, which resulted in the alleged victim suffering an abrasion to his left arm, as well as multiple scrapes and bruises.

When officers arrived at the scene, they reportedly discovered the dog, a 3-year-old terrier mix, was already dead.


Mearns was then arrested and charged with first-degree animal cruelty and third-degree assault. 

Mearns had been scheduled to appear in court via Zoom, as he is currently being held on $20,000 bail at the O‘ahu Community Correctional Center in Honolulu, more commonly known as OCCC. 

“If you watch (the camera) periodically, someone from O Triple C will walk by. But nobody stops,” said Valenciano in court Wednesday morning.  


“But we haven’t seen the person we need.” 

The March 27 court date was the second time Mearns had been scheduled to appear for his arraignment and plea. Court records show an arraignment and plea had also previously been scheduled for March 20. 

“Hopefully we can coordinate Mr. Mearns being on camera,” Valenciano said. 

Valenciano is scheduled to continue the matter on April 1 at 9 a.m.

Emma Grunwald

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