Woman vies for plea deal in grisly assaults on child
The girl suffered from rotting flesh and a head injury perhaps infested with fly eggs
HILO » A Big Island resident charged with attempted murder for her role in the alleged abuse and neglect of a 10-year-old girl is willing to plead guilty to the lesser offense of assault, her attorney said yesterday.
Keith Shigetomi, attorney for defendant Hyacinth Poouahi, explained the plea offer before Judge Glenn Hara yesterday as jury selection for Poouahi got under way in Circuit Court.
Deputy Prosecutor Rick Damerville refused to agree to the plea offer. Judge Hara said he was not inclined to accept the offer, but will consider it Monday.
Poouahi took the then 10-year-old into her care in late 2004 after the girl's mother dropped her off at Poouahi's Ainaloa subdivision home, south of Hilo, but never returned for her.
On the evening of Feb. 7, 2005, Poouahi called 911 telling medics the child had severe injuries.
Responding Fire Department medics found the girl with rotting flesh in her injuries, three-quarters of an inch of her upper lip missing, and objects that appeared to be fly eggs in a head injury.
Poouahi told medics that the girl had inflicted the injuries on herself. But a police investigation noted that the girl suffered apparent burn marks and signs that she had been tied up, as well as broken bones in a hand and foot.
One of Poouahi's daughters, then 15, told police that Poouahi, Poouahi's boyfriend and Poouahi's son, then 13, inflicted injuries on the girl, according to an affidavit.
The girl was in a coma at Kapiolani Medical Center for six weeks after being taken into custody by authorities. She recovered later, and the state took custody of her.
In December 2005, Poouahi was indicted for attempted murder by omission, endangering the welfare of a minor, assault, kidnapping and terroristic threatening. She is free on $28,000 bail.
Court questioning of 450 potential jurors regarding any knowledge of the case began yesterday and will continue through Thursday. Selection of jurors will begin Monday. The trial is expected to last about two weeks.