Boy to be tried
as adult in shooting

Miti Maugaotega, 17, faces
life without parole in the shooting
of a Punchbowl man

A Family Court judge has ordered that a 17-year-old boy be tried as an adult for shooting a Punchbowl homeowner who discovered him in his home during a burglary in June.

Miti "Junior" Maugaotega faces life without parole if convicted as an adult of second-degree attempted murder for shooting Eric Kawamoto on June 26 in his Puowaina Drive home.

Yesterday, Maugaotega agreed to waive his right to a hearing that would determine whether he will be charged as an adult or a minor.

The state had filed a petition asking Family Court to waive its jurisdiction over him and to turn him over to adult Circuit Court.

Carolyn Brown, deputy public defender, said outside the courtroom that considering Maugaotega's age -- he will turn 18 on Sept. 29 -- and given that the court must presume the truth of the police reports regarding the incident, they decided to concede.

"Now isn't the time to present any defense," Brown said.

Senior Family Court Judge Frances Wong found that Maugaotega knowingly waived his right to the hearing and fully understands the charges against him.

In addition to second-degree attempted murder, Maugaotega was charged with burglary, robbery, illegal possession of a firearm, two counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony, and possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia, all stemming from the shooting incident.

Yesterday, the state filed an additional charge of third-degree promotion of dangerous drugs based on allegedly finding crystal methamphetamine on Maugaotega when he was arrested and subsequently testing it.

Had he been charged and adjudicated as a minor, Maugaotega could have been held at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility until age 19 and possibly continued to be supervised until he was 20.

Had Maugaotega not waived his right to the hearing, the court would have had to consider the seriousness of the crimes committed, his age, his prior involvement with Family Court and whether the community needed to be protected, said deputy prosecutor Jennifer Ching.

Maugaotega's sister, Mary Melesia, declined comment after the hearing, saying, "There's nothing we would like to say at this time except we love our brother."

Maugaotega will remain at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Center until tomorrow, when Wong is expected to sign an order turning him over to adult court. He then will be booked by police as an adult.

He will likely appear for a preliminary hearing next week, unless prosecutors indict him first.

Kawamoto, 43, was shot in the chest and then taken to a nearby hospital after he managed to call neighbors for help. He has since recovered.


E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2003 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --