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Witnesses differ on Iolani assault


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POSTED: Thursday, August 13, 2009

Prosecution witnesses gave differing accounts of an assault of an Iolani Palace employee during an incident on the palace grounds last summer.

Donald Alfred Love-Boltz, 74, and Robert Roggasch, 70, are on trial in state court for second-degree assault. The state says the two men used a dangerous instrument—the gate—to cause serious bodily injury to Friends of Iolani Palace facilities manager Betty Jean Noelani Ah Yuen on Aug. 15, 2008.

Kippen de Alba Chu, Friends of Iolani Palace executive director, said he saw a man who matches Roggasch's description use the pedestrian gate next to the Hawaii State Library “;as a battering ram”; to strike Ah Yuen three times in the back. He said the man appeared to be pushing the gate “;with all of his might.”; He said he saw Ah Yuen push back.

;[Preview]  Iolani Palace trial
 

A year after sovereignty protestors stormed Iolani Palace the legal battles continue. Today two men went on trial for assaulting a palace employee.

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James Wright, an attorney, said he saw another man shove Ah Yuen against a concrete pillar next to the gate before Love-Boltz struck her several times in the back with the gate. He said a Honolulu police sergeant witnessed the incident but declined to intervene.

Ah Yuen said it was Roggasch who delivered the first strike with the gate, which hit her on the left side of her body and launched her backward against the concrete pillar. When she turned to push back, she said Love-Boltz and another man joined Roggasch, striking her three more times with the gate.

Ah Yuen said she went to the Queen's Medical Center later that evening with neck and back pain and was given Tylenol and codeine.

The state says the third man who swung the gate is Norman Abihai.

Joe Self, special agent for the state Department of the Attorney General, said there is a warrant for Abihai's arrest but he has not been able to find him.

Love-Boltz and Roggasch were at Iolani Palace on the Admission Day holiday last year with a group from Maui calling itself Kingdom of Hawaii, Nation.

Seven members of the group, including self-proclaimed heir to the Hawaiian throne James Akahi, entered the palace after hours and were arrested for burglary. A state judge dismissed the charges against six of them and a state jury found Akahi guilty last month of trespass instead.