Man begins 1-year term in beating


POSTED: Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ulutunu Faumuina Jr. started serving a one-year jail sentence yesterday for joining in the fatal beating of a man who urinated in the cab of his pickup truck.

The truck is considered a memorial to his father, who died trying to rescue family members from a house fire in Palolo in 1997, according to Faumuina's attorney, Howard Luke.

Faumuina, 28, was charged with murder in the April 19, 2004, beating death of 26-year-old Mikiala Kahalewai outside a Kona Street karaoke bar. But a Circuit Court jury found him guilty of third-degree assault, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. Circuit Judge Karen Ahn said she could not do anything but hand down the maximum jail term after considering all sentencing factors.

Kahalewai's mother faced Faumuina in court and told him how her son's death has affected her.

“;You and your friends have to live with the fact that you did take his life,”; said Malvamay Kahalewai.

Faumuina apologized to her: “;All I can do is just pray. May the lord help you to ease your pain and hopefully you can just move on with your life.”;

Faumuina's co-defendant, John Wilfred Penitani, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault in the middle of the trial.

Ahn sentenced him last week to five years' probation and one year in jail. Because Ahn credited him with the three years he was in jail awaiting trial, he did not have to serve any more time behind bars. She also ordered Faumuina and Penitani to pay $3,651 for Kahalewai's funeral expenses.