Trial Begins for Man Accused of Stabbing to Death Former Sumo Wrestler

Percy Kipapa
Percy Kipapa
June 20, 2006 07:19 PM

(KHNL) -- Was it murder or self defense? Trial began for a man accused of killing a former sumo wrestler last year.

Kealiiokalani Meheula stands proudly in his coat and tie. Prosecutors say he's the man who stabbed his friend to death in May 2005.

"The attack was very quick and vicious," Glenn Kim, deputy prosecutor, said.

Percy Kipapa died in the driver's seat of his truck on Okana Road. He was stabbed several times. The 31-year-old was a sumo wrestler in Japan in the 1990s.

"What was his wrestling name? Do you know?" Kim asked.

"Daiki, Big Joy, because he always smiling," Priscilla Kipapa, victim's mother, said through tears.

Lorie Rodrigues knows the victim and the defendant. She says Meheula confessed to the murder, which happened near her driveway.

"I said, 'Is that blood on your shirt?' And he muttered, he uttered something. And all of the sudden, I said, 'What happened to you?' And he said, 'I stabbed Percy,'" Rodrigues testified.

Donna Freitas rushed to the truck to check on her wounded friend. She says Kipapa was still making noises when she found him.

"Just like a gurgling sound," Freitas said.

"Did you believe he was still alive?" Kim asked.

"Yes," Freitas said.

"Did you try to talk to him, get his attention?"


"Did he respond?"


Freitas says the defendant got into her car, and ordered her to drive him away from the scene.

"He didn't blink the whole time," she said. "You know, he just stare at me."

"How did that make you feel?" Kim asked.

"I really, really, really, really thought I was going to be next," she said.

Police arrested Meheula after he showed up at a hospital with a stab wound to his leg. No word yet on whether he'll testify in his own defense.