(CN) – The Hawaii Supreme Court tossed out a man’s claim that Kauai police and two regional publications violated his civil rights and libeled him by naming him as a suspect in the hunt for an area serial killer.
Waldorf Roy Wilson II sued the Kauai Police Chief and four of his employees for unlawful imprisonment, punitive conduct and other alleged offenses for their actions in trying to connect him to three incidents of murder or attempted murder, sexual assault and stabbing that took place in 2000.
Wilson also sued Honolulu Magazine and the Garden Island newspaper, claiming they committed libel, slander and defamation by reporting on the case.
Justice Nakamura affirmed the trial court’s ruling that the Honolulu Magazine’s coverage was not defamatory.
“The article did not state or infer that Wilson was in fact the Kauai serial killer,” Nakamura wrote. “The plain meaning of the article is that Wilson was suspected in the attacks.”
Nakamura made a similar ruling on the Garden Island article.
“Accurately identifying someone as a suspect in a criminal investigation does not constitute an accusation of guilt,” Nakamura wrote.
Nakamura also affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of Wilson’s claims against the police for failure to prosecute.