Friday, September 5, 2003

Manoa pair is indicted
on murder charges

An Oahu grand jury has indicted a Manoa man and his wife on charges stemming from the disappearance of Yorck Woita Jr., 28, of Kaneohe, who was last seen alive Friday night.

Gregory Awana, 39, an investigator for the city Medical Examiner's Office, is charged with second-degree murder, car theft, second-degree criminal property damage, first-degree hindering prosecution, two drug offenses and a firearm offense. He remains in custody, unable to post $1 million bail.

His wife, Jody Awana, 35, was also indicted on a charge of first-degree hindering prosecution for allegedly helping him get rid of evidence. She is free on $100,000 bail.

Deputy Prosecutor Vickie Kapp sought the high bail for Gregory Awana, saying he had been growing marijuana in his house, had a dispute with an associate and killed him.

"He disposed of the body, took the car the victim was in and burned it," Kapp said.

Awana also tried to dispose of more than 25 pounds of marijuana, she said.

Jody Awana helped her husband remove items from their Manoa home "where a person had been killed," Kapp said. The items included bags containing marijuana and bloody items "associated with the murder," Kapp said.

Friends of Woita followed him to the Awanas' Oahu Avenue home on Friday to "watch his back."

They provided information to police who began surveillance on the home Sunday. Police observed Awana and his wife loading boxes and garbage bags into the bed of a pickup truck and later saw Awana dumping them at the Kapaa Transfer Station.

Police found marijuana plants, bloody rags and cement blocks inside the bags and boxes.

Awana allegedly confessed to police he shot Woita at his home, transported the body in Woita's yellow SUV and disposed of it. Woita's body has yet to be found.

Police found Woita's SUV on fire in Waimanalo Friday night, about an hour after friends spoke with him on his cellular phone.


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