Man sentenced to 20 years in killing


POSTED: Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A state judge said he believes Kelii Acasia Jr. punched and killed a bystander in Waikiki last year because he was frustrated that he, his brother and his friend had ganged up on a Marine but were still getting beaten.

“;You couldn't take the Marine. What did you do? You went after an easier target,”; Circuit Judge Steven Alm said yesterday. “;Mr. Acasia, you're a coward. You brought shame on yourself and your community.”;

Alm sentenced Acasia, 21, to the maximum 20-year prison term for manslaughter for the May 18, 2008, death of 58-year-old Ned Nakoa Jr., plus 10 years in prison for sexually brutalizing a boy at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility in 2006.

Alm told Acasia he ordered the two prison terms to run back to back to protect the community from him.

“;You're a violent, dangerous guy,”; he said, “;You have a history of ganging up with others to do what you want to do. You've been in almost constant trouble with the law for the last several years.”;

Alm also told Acasia the system has given him many chances to change but that he chose not to take advantage of the opportunities.

In 2003, when Acasia was 15 years old, Alm said, witnesses identified Acasia as the primary aggressor in the stabbing and beating of a man at Aala Park. A Family Court judge sentenced him to probation and 30 days' confinement at the youth facility for second-degree assault.

Alm said Acasia committed the 2006 sexual assault at the youth facility with another boy. He was 17 years old at the time, but the Family Court waived jurisdiction so he could be tried as an adult.

Acasia also has juvenile convictions for second-degree theft, fourth-degree sexual assault, fourth-degree criminal property damage and abuse of a family or household member.

Acasia told Nakoa's family members he takes responsibility for his actions, apologized to them and asked them to forgive him. He also made a drawing for them that Nakoa's oldest sister, Paula Rabanes, accepted.

;[Preview]    Acasia sentenced to 30 years behind bars

Ned Nakoa, a gentle man who died a violent death, was remembered today as his killer, Kelii Acasia, was sentenced

Watch ]


Another sister of Nakoa's, Laverne Rivas, said it is unfortunate that Acasia is so young, and she told him he needs to face up to his violent actions in order to grow and get past what he has done.

“;Give yourself a life. See what it feels to recover from this awful event, just like we all are doing,”; she said.

Acasia's friend Benjamin Pada started the events that ended in Nakoa's death by kicking the Kaneohe Marine in the head on the beach and stealing his girlfriend's purse, witnesses said. The Marine chased and caught up with Pada, punched him and took the purse back. As he turned to leave, Pada hit the Marine on the head with a wrench. Then Acasia and his brother joined in, witnesses said.

Witnesses told police Acasia punched Nakoa when Nakoa tried to intervene.

Pada, 19, pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery and second-degree assault and is serving a 15-year prison term.