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Thursday, July 20, 2000

4 held in
beating of Navy
sailor on Maui

The weekend assault
put him in critical care

By Gary T. Kubota
Kauai correspondent


WAILUKU -- Four Maui men were being held on $90,000 bail each in an alleged robbery and assault in Lahaina that left a U.S. Navy sailor initially in critical condition at a hospital.

Charged with two counts of first-degree robbery and one count of first-degree assault were John P. Folau and Tevita V. Pousima, both 19, and Filoimanu Fakava and Touanga Talakai, both 18.

The four have been charged in the assault on Petty Officer 3rd Class Brendt Yamada.

Yamada, who has been released from the hospital, suffered a number of injuries, including a concussion and multiple fractures of the face, his commanding officer said.

The officer said Yamada is on sick leave and his health is being closely monitored.

During a preliminary hearing yesterday, Petty Officer Aaron Turner testified he and other Navy sailors including Yamada were walking on Front Street near the Safeway store a little past midnight Friday, when a pickup truck went by.

Turner said the men in the pickup shouted and he responded by hooting, "Yeah. Wooo" and giving the "shaka" sign.

He said the pickup turned around and stopped in front of him.

Turner said the men got out of the pickup and one of them, Talakai, started punching him. Turner said he backed up and one of the men took his bag from him.

Turner said he saw Yamada being kicked on the ground.

"It seemed people were taking turns kicking him in the head," Turner said. "He wasn't reacting. He was out cold."

Turner said he and other Navy sailors ran over to help Yamada.

"I shouted, 'Stop. He's already down,' " Turner recalled.

He said the men got back in the pickup and drove away.

The preliminary hearing is scheduled to resume at 10 a.m. Tuesday before Maui District Judge Yoshio Shigezawa.

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