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Defendant claims he does not recall fatal beating


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POSTED: Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ulutunu Faumuina Jr. says he does not remember what he did to a man who had opened the passenger door of his pickup truck and urinated inside.

Faumuina, 28, is on trial in state court for second-degree murder in connection with the fatal beating of Mikiala Kahalewai outside a Kona Street bar April 19, 2004.

However, he does acknowledge it is him on security video being pushed away by his friends from Kahalewai, whose body lay motionless on the ground outside Pachinko Karaoke Bar.

And he does not dispute that when a police officer spoke to him inside the bar, he told the officer, “;That guy pissed in my truck, man. What would you do if someone pissed in your truck?”;

His lawyer said the truck was a memorial to his father, Ulutunu Faumuina Sr., who died trying to save family members from a burning house in Palolo in October 1997. The truck has a vanity license plate, “;4ULU”; and has a frame with the words “;With Aloha”; on it.

The lawyers were scheduled to give their closing arguments this morning.

Faumuina's co-defendant, John Wilfred Penitani, 29, reached a plea agreement with the state sometime last week and is no longer standing trial. None of the attorneys were willing to comment on the agreement with the trial still in progress, and there is no agreement on file.

Faumuina's lawyer, Howard Luke, told the court yesterday he wanted to call Penitani as a defense witness.

Penitani's lawyer, Teri Marshall, told Circuit Judge Karen Ahn she had advised Penitani to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refuse to testify. Ahn allowed Luke to question Penitani outside the presence of the jury. Penitani refused to answer any questions.