Waianae Family Could Lose House if Convicted of Assaulting Neighbors

William Naeole
William Naeole
Vanna Naeole
Vanna Naeole

WAIANAE (KHNL) -- A Waianae man accused of assaulting his neighbors faces more than prison time if he's convicted. It's possible his family might lose their house, which is on Hawaiian homestead land.

The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands says it has evicted people from their properties for criminal activity, such as drug offenses. This case pits one family against another.

Vanna Naeole cradles her newborn, as the baby's grandfather looks on.

"We just want to be left alone," William Naeole, assault victim, said.

They say their relationship with their neighbors across the street turned violent five months ago. Twenty-five-year-old Lopaka Ceno and his friend, 28-year-old Eugene Kostron, are accused of assaulting the Naeole family.

"I felt, bang. You know, something just hit me and I went right down," William Naeole said. "And that's all I remember."

Witnesses say the 60-year-old was hit in the face with a beer bottle.

"He looked dead," Vanna Naeole, assault victim, said. "He was on the floor, mouth full of blood, dead. He had no responding."

Vanna says she, too, came under attack.

"My mom and my cousin were yelling to them she's pregnant," she said. "And obviously, you could see I was pregnant. And they were yelling, oh, we don't care, we don't care."

She says the assault may have affected her baby.

"They told me that she was born with DDH, which is dislocated hip," she said. "And they couldn't really prove that it was, and they can't prove that it wasn't."

The other family refused to comment Thursday night.

"Tell them %@# beat it," a family member yelled.

Both families live on Hawaiian homestead land.

"One of the homestead rules is there's no violence," Vanna Naeole said.

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands says it's aware of the situation.

"After the pending court case, DHHL will review it and, with the concurrence of the Attorney General's office, will decide the proper course of action," Lloyd Yonenaka, department spokesperson, said.

"I don't want trouble," William Naeole said. "I just want, you know, this thing to go away. You know what I mean? I want to live my life."

The suspects are expected to plead not guilty at their Circuit Court arraignment. A hearing date hasn't been set.