Previous felony means killer must serve 20-year prison term


POSTED: Thursday, May 07, 2009

Kelii Acasia faces a mandatory 20-year prison term when he is sentenced for manslaughter in July.

;[Preview]  Acasia Receives Verdict In Murder Trial

When Acasia received his verdict today, family of the late Ned Nakoa say that justice was served.

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A state jury deliberated less than a day before finding Acasia, 20, guilty yesterday of recklessly causing the death of 58-year-old Ned Nakoa Jr. on May 18 last year in Waikiki. Acasia was on trial for second-degree murder.

“;We're just happy that justice was done. He was a good person, and we all miss him”; said Paula Rabanes, Nakoa's sister, who attended the trial.

The possible penalties for manslaughter are a mandatory 20 years in prison or probation.

Keith Shigetomi, Acasia's lawyer, said his client does not qualify for probation because he was already in violation of probation for another felony conviction at the time of the Waikiki event.

Nakoa was in a crowd of people who had gathered around a fight involving Acasia and his friend Benjamin Pada against a Kaneohe Marine whom Pada had earlier hit over the head with a wrench and snatched his girlfriend's purse.

Pada, 19, is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to second-degree robbery and second-degree assault.

A state witness testified that Nakoa was trying to stop Acasia from fighting when Acasia delivered four knockout punches to Nakoa's head, then kicked Nakoa as he was falling to the ground.

But Chief Medical Examiner Kanthi De Alwis testified that Nakoa had only one head injury, probably caused by a punch that snapped his head to one side, severing an artery in his neck.

Acasia did not testify in his own defense.

Shigetomi said Acasia punched Nakoa in self-defense because Nakoa was drunk and had struck Acasia's pregnant girlfriend as they were trying to leave.

De Alwis said Nakoa's blood alcohol content was 0.217, more than 2 1/2 times the legal threshold for driving drunk. And Shigetomi said Acasia encountered Nakoa far from where the fighting was going on.

At the time, Acasia was on probation for a 2006 second-degree sexual assault conviction for brutalizing a boy when they were both confined at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Center.

He also is awaiting trial for failing to register as a sex offender.