Knifing was self-defense, sobbing friend testifies
The defendant claims he used the weapon to break a choke hold
A Kaneohe man says he stabbed his friend with a knife in self-defense during a confrontation because he was being choked and felt like he was going to black out.
"I thought I was gonna die," said Kealiiokalani Meheula, 31, who took the stand in his defense yesterday. "He didn't let go. ... I couldn't speak, couldn't breathe, couldn't think. I just swung that knife."
Meheula is on trial for second-degree murder for fatally stabbing his friend, retired sumo wrestler Percy Kipapa, as the two sat in a truck on May 15, 2005.
After striking Kipapa three times with the skinning knife, Kipapa finally let go of his throat and struck his hand that was holding the knife, Meheula said. After a brief struggle, Kipapa finally let go. "I opened the door and I ran," he said.
"My intention was never to stab him -- never," Meheula testified during questioning by defense attorney William Domingo.
Prosecutors will get their chance today to question Meheula.
Venda Meheula, Meheula's mother, had testified earlier that she had her son and Kipapa drop her off at the home of Lori Rodrigues on Okana Road in Kahaluu that evening because Kipapa had asked her for help in scoring some crystal methamphetamine, or "ice."
When asked how he felt being responsible for his friend's death, Kealiiokalani Meheula covered his face in his hands and sobbed, unable to continue.
The trial resumes today.