U.S. grand jury indicts 3 in Pali links slayings
Three men awaiting trial in state court on first-degree murder charges in a 2004 shooting at Pali Golf Course now face federal racketeering charges that carry a possible death sentence for the slayings.
A federal grand jury indicted Ethan Motta, Rodney Joseph Jr. and Kevin A. Gonsalves yesterday on several counts of violent crime in aid of racketeering. The charges allege that they were members of a criminal organization who engaged in illegal gambling and acts of violence including murder and attempted murder, robbery and extortion.
The men were charged in the Jan. 7, 2004, daytime shootings at Pali Golf Course that killed Lepo Taliese, 44, and Romelius Corpuz, 40, and wounded Tino Sao, 42. Police said at the time that the shooting stemmed from a dispute between factions vying to provide security at gambling houses.
Yesterday's indictment supersedes a Feb. 15 indictment that charged Joseph, Gonsalves and two others with operating an illegal gambling business, operating a racketeer-influenced and corrupt organization, and several counts of violent crime -- robbery and assault -- in aid of racketeering.
U.S. Attorney Edward Kubo Jr. said the earlier indictment against Kai Ming "A Fook" Wang, alleged leader of a gambling business, and Siaosi Alapati stands. They face maximum sentences of 20 years on racketeering counts.
The superseding counts against Motta, Joseph and Gonsalves carry a potential sentence of death or life imprisonment, according to Kubo's news statement.
The defendants are in federal custody.