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3 no longer facing charges in beating


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POSTED: Thursday, September 24, 2009

Three of the seven people arrested on suspicion of beating a man into a coma in Waipahu over the weekend over a cigarette are no longer facing attempted murder charges.

An Oahu grand jury returned an indictment yesterday charging Jeremiah Leota and Jimmy Robinson with first-degree assault and Ana Lealiiee with second-degree assault.

Leota, 26, and Robinson, 19, remain in custody, unable to post $30,000 bail. Lealiiee, 45, is no longer in custody after posting bail.

The other four people not indicted yesterday could still face charges.

The fourth person arrested is a 15-year-old girl. Her case is being handled confidentially by state Family Court.

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The three others not indicted in the case included Jamel Leota, 25, and Eliza T. Lealiiee, 19, who posted bail before the grand jury returned yesterday's indictment, and Paulo A. Ioane, 20, who was awaiting release from Oahu Community Correctional Center after the grand jury did not charge him with any crimes.

Police said at least 10 people struck 25-year-old Sekonaia Vainikolo with punches, kicks, bottles, a baseball bat and a sport utility vehicle after he approached a group of women at a Pupuole street address Saturday night and asked for a cigarette.

Jeremiah Leota drove into Vainikolo with a sport utility vehicle and then backed into him twice until Vainikolo hit the ground, said Vickie Kapp, deputy prosecutor. Leota then got out of the SUV, kicked Vainikolo and struck him in the head with a baseball bat, she said.

Kapp said Robinson also struck Vainikolo with the baseball bat.

Vainikolo's wife was at the scene during the attack and said all her husband did was ask for a cigarette.

A relative of the defendants and the suspects said the fight started because Vainikolo demanded a cigarette from one of the women and took it from her. Robinson told Vainikolo to give back the cigarette, and the two started fighting, the relative said.