Police link suspects
in slayings to robbery

The pair are already in custody
on murder charges in the killings
at the Pali Golf Course

Two suspects in last month's Pali Golf Course double slaying were arrested again this week for an alleged gunpoint robbery of an illegal gambling house in August.

Rodney Joseph Jr., 36, and Kevin Gonsalves, 33, were already in custody at Oahu Community Correctional Center on charges of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder in the Jan. 7 fatal shooting of Lepo Utu Taliese and Romelius Corpuz. They were also charged with attempted murder in the shooting of Tinoimolo Sao at the golf course.

On Wednesday, police arrested Joseph and Gonsalves again for suspicion of first-degree robbery of an alleged gambling room in Pearl City on Aug. 30.

Police said both suspects forced their way into the gambling room at 2 a.m. and robbed employees and patrons at gunpoint while other unidentified men acted as lookouts. The suspects then fled with stolen cash and gambling devices, police allege.

Sources close to the investigation have said the Pali shooting case involved two different factions vying to provide security at Oahu's illegal gambling houses. Often, one side would "raid" a gambling house where the other side was providing security, sources said.

The Aug. 30 robbery was intended to send a message to the gambling house owners that their faction was "taking over" security, sources said.

The robbery followed two other violent encounters between the two factions, a July 30 beating at a Young Street gambling room and an Aug. 3 beating at a Kapiolani Boulevard room where attackers broke a man's legs.

The violence culminated Jan. 7 when Taliese, 44, was shot several times in the chest and head in front of stunned golfers. Corpuz, 39, was fatally shot in the head. Sao, 42, was also shot in the head but survived and has since recovered and has been interviewed by police.

Soon after the shootings, police arrested Joseph and Ethan "Malu" Motta and charged them with murder and attempted murder. Gonsalves was arrested in Nanakuli on Jan. 20 after an islandwide manhunt.


E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --