2 accused of murdering man whose body was found in Kailua woods

2 weeks after murder victim found in Kailua forest, police make an arrest

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Keone Labatad and Stacey Maae have been indicted for the murder of a man whose body was found by hunters off a Kailua hiking trail last year.

A police affidavit says on May 10, a witness saw Labatad strike the victim, 38-year-old Benjamin Awong, in the head with a handgun and then take him away in a vehicle. His body was found five days later.

Keone Labatad (Image: HPD mug)
Keone Labatad (Image: HPD mug)

Sources told Hawaii News Now Awong was found face down with his hands bound behind his back with duct tape and zip ties.

Labatad and Maae had previously been charged with kidnapping and reportedly pleaded not guilty back in June.

The murder indictment was issued yesterday and officials say a bail increase is being requested.

Keone Labatad has a lengthy criminal record. Sources say he has 60 prior arrests. He faced an attempted murder charge in 2002, but pleaded guilty to a lesser assault charge and served 10 years in prison.

Records also show Labatad was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder in Kahuku in 2015 after a 54-year-old victim reported being choked, stabbed and hit with a metal bar.

Labatad also served time in 2017 for second-degree robbery and has been on probation for domestic violence charges.

Documents also show Labatad sued the Saguaro Correctional Center in Arizona after he was assaulted in a cell where he was placed with a rival gang member. The court case identified Labatad as a member of the La Familia gang, and he was put in a cell with an USO Family gang member.

Meanwhile, Stacey Maae has also been charged in other crimes, including a violent robbery on Dole Street and a hit-and-run crash. She was also among several girls who sued the state in 2007 over abuse at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility in Kailua.

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