Extradition is set for suspect in isle killing
A man in Tonga left Hawaii after being charged in a beating
A man wanted in a homicide in Hawaii will be extradited next month from Tonga, U.S. Marshal deputies said yesterday.
John Wilfred Penitani left the country three days after he was charged for second-degree murder involving the beating death of Mikiala Kahalewai on April 19, 2004.
Penitani and another man, Ulutunu S. Faumuina Jr., allegedly attacked Kahalewai after the victim urinated in Faumuina's truck, which was parked along Kona Street.
According to a police affidavit, witnesses saw Faumuina punch the victim and knock him to the ground, and that two more men joined in on the beating and kicked and punched Kahalewai while he lay motionless in the street. He was transported to the Queen's Medical Center in critical condition and was later pronounced dead.
Police said later that only one other suspect was involved.
Penitani and Faumuina were indicted in May for second-degree murder, but Faumuina fled the country, authorities said.
A U.S. Marshals Service Hawaii fugitive task force tracked down Penitani to New Zealand, Australia and then Western Samoa and Nuku'alofa, Tonga.
Task force investigators asked Tongan officials to detain Penitani, which they did earlier this month after he made the U.S. Marshal's 10 most wanted list in Hawaii for 2006.
Penitani is being held pending extradition proceedings in Tonga and will be ready for transport back to Hawaii within a few weeks, authorities said.