Homeless man convicted for beating
A man accused of beating a fellow homeless man and leaving him to drown in Nuuanu Stream was found guilty Wednesday of the lesser offense of manslaughter.
Circuit Judge Richard Perkins issued a decision following a brief jury-waived trial in August that Faitele Faitele Jr. recklessly caused Reuben Kimura's death by beating him, then pushing him into the stream.
Prosecutors argued at trial that the facts supported the argument that Faitele acted intentionally, with deliberate indifference to human life.
"The judge said he should have known that by throwing him in after beating him and not knowing for sure that he was dead, that it could have caused his death," said deputy public defender Walter Rodby. He said they were extremely pleased the court did not convict Faitele as charged with second-degree murder, which is punishable by life with the possibility of parole. Manslaughter carries a 20-year prison term.
Faitele, also known as Bow Wow, did not dispute at trial that he assaulted Kimura in Aala Park in April 2004 and shoved him into the stream. At the urging of two acquaintances, Faitele pulled Kimura from the stream, but later pushed him back in when he saw blood pouring from Kimura's ears and panicked, believing he was dead, he told acquaintances later.
Witnesses who knew Faitele and saw the beating described Kimura as a "human yo-yo" from the way he was being punched and kicked in the chest and head "football style" several times.
Faitele believed Kimura had told shelter's officials that he was smoking marijuana, a violation of the shelter's policy against drugs. Faitele later learned he might have been mistaken.
Deputy Prosecutor Darrell Wong contended that Faitele assaulted Kimura because he believed he was responsible for getting him kicked out of the Institute for Human Services, where both had been staying.
Rodby said Faitele was remorseful after the incident and broke down when friends asked him what had happened. Faitele told them, "I think the kid died. I threw him in the water."
An autopsy determined that Kimura, 25, died from drowning after suffering massive head injuries.
Faitele will be sentenced May 10.