Tuesday, May 4, 1999

Accused killer to
represent himself

By Gary T. Kubota
Maui correspondent


WAILUKU -- An accused double murderer who has refused to appear in Maui Circuit Court during his trial will be allowed to represent himself when judicial proceedings continue Monday.

Daniel Kosi, 25, will be appearing in Circuit Court and allowed to ask questions of witnesses, said his former attorney, Joseph Mottl III.

Kosi appeared in court for the first time during his trial yesterday, shackled to his chair with leg irons and handcuffs.

Circuit Judge Shackley Raffetto has postponed the trial for this week to give Kosi an opportunity to develop a strategy and review what has gone on in court in his absence, Mottl said.

Mottl said the arrangement calls for him to remain next to Kosi if he needs legal counsel.

Raffetto said a microphone will be provided to Kosi, and that Mottl may assist by approaching witnesses and receiving evidence to be reviewed by Kosi.

Raffetto said he will consider on Monday a request by Mottl to unshackle Kosi during the trial.

Jail guards restrained Kosi and injected him with a sedative after he caused a disturbance by banging on the cell door last week Tuesday.

During the struggle, Kosi bit two of the jail guards, who were treated at the correctional facility, said Maui prison Warden Albert Murashige.

Kosi is charged with the gunshot shooting of Maui kickboxer Eric Vinge near his Paukukalo home on Aug. 3, 1997, and the stabbing death of 17-year-old Aisha Tolentino, whose body was found in the hallway of a Kihei condominium during a police standoff about 12 days later.

The trial on Monday is expected to resume with prosecution witness Abra Pearsall, who has testified that Kosi fired a handgun at Vinge after a quarrel.

Pearsall also testified she was abducted by Kosi, after he learned she was planning to become a prosecution witness.

She said she was bound and gagged and put into the trunk of a rental car but managed to escape by hitting the inside latch with her elbow.

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