3 charged in Maui murder-for-hire plot
WAILUKU » Three Maui men were being held by police in an alleged murder-for-hire plot that involved a love triangle.
Aniano Yabo, Ronald Bonilla and Lawrence Dexter Verzosa were scheduled for a preliminary hearing tomorrow on first-degree attempted murder charges.
Yabo, 41, allegedly hired Bonilla and Verzosa for $3,550 to beat and kill Leonardo Rojas-Reyes, 33, a hotel worker allegedly romantically involved with Yabo's wife, Ethel, who had filed for divorce, police allege. Rojas-Reyes and Ethel Yabo worked at the same resort.
Bonilla, 60, of Paia, and Verzosa, 42, of Wailuku, went to Rojas-Reyes' hotel workplace in Kapalua close to 4:10 p.m. on Nov. 9, and Bonilla posed as a police officer and arrested and handcuffed Rojas-Reyes, authorities allege.
Rojas-Reyes, who thought he was going to the police station in Wailuku, was then put in the passenger side of the front seat of a vehicle and taken on the back road through Kahakuloa to Kahului, police said.
Police said Rojas-Reyes was beaten on the head, arms and body after trying to escape from the vehicle in Kahului.
"Bonilla admitted to him why he was being whacked and who paid him," acting police Lt. Don Simpson said.
But Rojas-Reyes was able to persuade Bonilla and Verzosa not to kill him after offering them $100,000, to be paid the next day, police said.
Rojas-Reyes was dropped off at the pali lookout near Maalaea and later told police about the alleged kidnapping.
The next day, Bonilla drove to a prearranged site in Kapalua to meet Rojas-Reyes for the $100,000 payment, but drove away and did not get out of his car, police said.
Bonilla was arrested as he drove from Kapalua, and police found a loaded .357-caliber revolver in his vehicle, authorities said.
Bonilla, held on $310,000 bail, was charged with first-degree attempted murder, kidnapping, first-degree attempted extortion and second-degree robbery, in addition to two firearm charges.
Yabo, charged with first-degree attempted murder, was held on $294,000 bail.
Verzosa, held on $290,000 bail, was charged with first-degree attempted murder, kidnapping, first-degree attempted extortion and second-degree robbery.