Maui killersBy Gary T. Kubota
WAILUKU -- A woman who testified against her former boyfriend in the killing of a hostage in a south Maui condominium in 1997 was freed from jail yesterday.
Jennifer Kong, 20, spent close to two years in jail.
Her attorney Anthony Ranken said Kong plans to stay at a religious shelter in Lahaina, in part to be in a halfway house and to help other young people recovering from drug abuse.
Maui Circuit Judge Shackley Raffetto yesterday sentenced Kong to one year in prison but credited her with time served. He also placed Kong on probation for five years.
Kong was 18, still on probation as a juvenile, when her boyfriend Daniel Kosi fatally shot kickboxer Eric Vinge near his Paukukalo home on Aug. 3, 1997, and killed hostage Aisha Tolentino during a police standoff about 12 days later.
A Maui Circuit Court jury has convicted Kosi of numerous charges, including the murder of Tolentino and Vinge.
Several felony charges, including the murder of Tolentino, were dismissed against Kong after she decided to testify against Kosi.
Instead, she pleaded no contest to reduced charges of being an accomplice in the kidnapping of Tolentino and Tolentino's friend Chad Caldito.
During the trial, Kong testified she didn't know Kosi had shot Vinge until police surrounded the Maui Banyans Condominium.
Ranken said evidence showed Kosi forced Kong to tie up Tolentino and Caldito in the condominium.
Ranken said Kong was abused by Kosi for months and was even struck by Kosi with the butt of a handgun during the standoff with police.
"When you hear all the details and see Kosi in action, it becomes clear that Jennifer was one of Kosi's victims in this case," Ranken said.
Sentencing for Kosi is scheduled for July 27.