3 admit guilt in attack on man
Three men charged with murder for beating a man who subsequently died of a heart attack pleaded guilty yesterday to first-degree assault.
Dillion K. Lepolo, 24, Lugavai L. Momoe, 33 -- both of Waianae -- and Julius F. Mitchell, 37, of Makaha each face maximum prison terms of 10 years when they are sentenced Aug. 13. Mitchell also faces a mandatory minimum of three years and four months in prison because he has prior state felony convictions. He was also on federal probation for a 1998 drug conviction.
Lepolo and Momoe are free on $100,000 and $150,000 bail, respectively. Mitchell remains in custody in lieu of $250,000 bail.
Witnesses told police the three men punched, kicked and stomped Roger Haudenshild in the Waianae Market parking lot Sept. 1, 2006. Haudenshild, 47, was taken to Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, where he died.
Deputy City Prosecutor Landon Murata said he agreed to the lower charges because the Honolulu Medical Examiner did not find that the beating caused Haudenshild's death.
"It couldn't be said that the injuries he sustained caused the heart attack. The most the medical examiner could say was they were a contributing factor related to it but not the cause," he said.
Murata said Haudenshild also had heart disease and had had a heart attack several weeks before the beating.
He said Haudenshild and Lepolo got into a fight earlier after they almost ran into each other in front of the Waianae McDonald's restaurant. Haudenshild was riding his bicycle on Farrington Highway, and Lepolo was in a vehicle exiting the restaurant in the drive-through lane.
Witnesses broke up the fight, but one of them heard Lepolo tell Haudenshild he was going to pick up his friends and return to kill him, police said.
Haudenshild rode his bicycle to Waianae Market, where Lepolo, Mitchell and Momoe caught up with him. Haudenshild was beaten unconscious and suffered cuts, a black eye, a fractured tooth and injury to the back of his head. Witnesses told police the three defendants threatened to kill them if they said anything.
The incident and the intentional burning of a gymnasium, kitchen and offices at the Waianae chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 11 days later prompted a community peace march and a series of community meetings.
Murata said the Prosecutor's Office attended all seven community meetings and consulted with the families of the victim and the defendants before agreeing to allow the defendants to plead guilty to assault rather than face trial for murder.