HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A young man who lost his father in a high-profile beating last month said his dad died at the hands of someone else and his attacker is getting off easy.
Riley Meade hadn't seen or spoken to his father in four years. The 25-year-old moved back home on May 21st and they were planning to make amends on June 12nd, but his father died before it could happen.
A dramatic scene above the H-1 Freeway backed up traffic for hours on May 30th as 19-year-old Rimoni Pologa-Seiuli tried to jump from the Gulick Avenue overpass. Police caught him just in time. Police said shortly before that, Pologa-Seiuli attacked Meade's father, also named Riley, in the parking lot of a Kalihi gas station.
Meade was critically injured and later died at the hospital.
"The story goes that there was a victim and my dad intervened. They got into a fight and my dad got weak. He disengaged, walked away, and the kid chased him down and beat him while my dad was having a heart attack. He kept beating my dad until my dad until he died," Meade said.
Pologa-Seiuli was initially arrested for second-degree murder, but later charged with attempted assault because the Honolulu Medical Examiner said Meade died of a heart attack.
The younger Meade said his father would still be alive if it wasn't for the fight.
"We know that it was murder but the justice system is saying attempted assault...I don't see it as that," he said.
Meade and his family are desperate for answers and wants anyone who knows anything to come forward.
"I really want to know what happened, I need closure," said Meade.
The Department of Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu said that under Hawaii state law, charging murder or manslaughter would require proof that the suspect "either knew his actions would cause death or an unjustifiable risk of death." In other words, they said Pologa-Seiuli would have had to have known that Meade had a heart condition.
Meade said the justice system isn't fair and he and his family will continue to fight for answers and justice for his father. He said his father was changing his life around, attending church regularly, and was planning on getting married.
"My dad didn't have to die like this...he took away a lot," he said.
Attempted assault is a a class B felony and a conviction could still lead to years in prison. Pologa-Seiuli's bail is set at $100,000.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300, or *CRIME on your cellular phone. The public may now send anonymous text and web tips. Text "CS808" plus your message to 274637or CRIMES. Those who wish to remain anonymous may also email the family tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.