Wednesday, May 12, 1999

Hostage tape
played for jurors

The defendant in the Maui
double-murder trial is heard laughing

By Gary T. Kubota


WAILUKU -- Jurors appeared somber yesterday as they heard a taped conversation of two hostages begging police by telephone for help to stop accused double murderer Daniel Kosi from hurting them.

"I already got cut in the neck. Please help me," said hostage Chad Caldito, held by Kosi in a south Maui condominium.

Caldito, who survived the attack, is expected to testify during the Maui Circuit Court trial, which was to resume today.

Kosi, 25, is charged in the gunshot killing of kickboxer Eric Vinge near his Paukukalo residence Aug. 3, 1997, and the stabbing death of hostage Aisha Tolentino at the condominium 12 days later.

Circuit Judge Shackley Raffetto allowed Kosi to excuse himself from being present during the trial yesterday.

At the recommendation of court security, Kosi was bound so that only one hand was free to take notes as he sat yesterday during the trial.

Kosi told Raffetto he wanted both hands free and indicated he didn't want to be present if the jury saw one hand shackled, said his attorney, Joseph Mottl III.

On the tape, Kosi hung up the telephone constantly to halt conversations with police.

He also threatened to harm the hostages.

At one point during negotiations, Kosi agreed to free Tolentino in 10 to 15 minutes.

When police called to find out why Tolentino was still in the condominium, Kosi said he was "kind of busy," watching Caldito bleeding from knife wounds.

Kosi then laughed.

He said he didn't know the name of Tolentino.

Kosi told police he was going to have a present for them.

"You like me send her out ... I going send her out," Kosi said.

Tolentino's body was found later in the hallway at the Maui Banyan Condominiums, prompting police to break into the unit.

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