Defendant in hostage
trial falls in court

Leg restraints caused Alomalietoa
Sua to trip, delaying the case

By Debra Barayuga

Alomalietoa Sua, on trial for allegedly holding a prison nurse hostage with a shank in September 2000, fell in court yesterday afternoon and had to be taken away by ambulance.

Sua has been representing himself at trial in Circuit Judge Karen Ahn's courtroom and had just finished questioning one of his witnesses when he fell backward, said his standby counsel, Lane Takahashi.

Because of security concerns, Sua was wearing a leg restraint that apparently locked, causing him to trip and fall, hitting his back on the bench behind him, said Takahashi. Sua complained of numbness and tingling and was taken by ambulance to Queen's Medical Center.

The leg restraints are designed to lock when the leg is in a straight position to prevent the wearer from running, Takahashi said.

The jury was excused and trial was expected to resume today but will depend on Sua's condition.

Not long after he was taken away, deputy sheriffs responded to flooding in the third floor cellblock where eight prison inmates who were to testify for Sua were being held.

The inmates apparently had clogged two of the toilets, causing the water to flood the cellblock and overflow into the third floor hallway, said Sgt. Gordon Lee of the Sheriff's Division at Circuit Court.

The inmates included Frank Pauline Jr., convicted of the 1991 murder of Dana Ireland on the Big Island, and Wayman Kaua, convicted of attempted manslaughter for firing at police during a standoff in 1998.

The water also leaked down into two courtrooms on the second floor where Family Court proceedings are held.

Custodians were kept busy yesterday vacuuming the carpet and attempting to remove as much of the water and the smell as possible.

Yesterday's delay was just one of many in the Sua case, which ended in a mistrial in February. Judge Ahn declared a mistrial when Sua, who initially wanted to represent himself, told the court at the last minute that he wanted an attorney.

He also has sought continuances, saying he is too sick, has headaches and needs glasses.

Sua is serving time at Halawa since his parole was revoked in June 1996. He is serving time for first- and second-degree robbery convictions. He comes from a family of seven brothers who were incarcerated simultaneously in 1996 in Hawaii's prison system for various charges including murder, attempted murder, assault and armed robbery.

Sua is on trial for terroristic threatening, kidnapping and possession of prison contraband in a Sept. 20, 2000, incident at Halawa Community Correctional Facility. He had gone to the medical exam room for treatment of a sore elbow and allegedly took the nurse hostage, holding a shank to her neck. He allegedly told her, "This is how its going to end" and that he would be taken out by snipers.

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